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www.anniesgoathill.comI’ve told stories about my passion for handmade soap to so many people, and I’ll tell it again — it began (here) 49 years ago, and it carried on fiercely into adulthood, right up to this day.

In case you don’t know about me, I have been a soap maker for 12 years. I began handcrafting all natural soaps with pure essential oils and plant-based colorants at that time, and I switched to making goat make soap, including milk from my own herd of goats, approximately 8 years ago.

I joined my husband when he shifted to driving full-time across the United States as a semi-truck driver several years ago. God asked for a change in our lives, and so I made the announcement to close Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps (here).

Change and choice happens in our lives, and then it often comes back around 180 degrees. That is where I am at today. I miss soap making. I miss the small business. I miss my customers. I am still an entrepreneur (a life coach and an author), but I need to make soap again. I need to talk about it, watch it cure, and I need to hold a bar of my silky goat milk gsoap in my own little hands!

My plan is to return to making goat milk soap in February or March 2015. We are in the beginning stage of our initial newsletter here, so those of you that are interested in purchasing my soap, I urge you to sign up and I’ll keep you informed!

Will this be a grand re-opening, or what?

I truly look forward to it!

Mary Humphrey

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps

Where you can smell and feel the goodness!

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Taco Soup

Taco Soup www.AnniesGoatHill.comTaco Soup

This is a wonderful meal for the cold dark days of winter when we need the extra oomph to warm our chilled-to-the-bone bodies! This soup smells extraordinary, like fresh tacos. It is not a spicy hot soup, and I will admit that I added a smidget more of each of the spices listed below. Enjoy!

Taco Seasoning Recipe:

1 part cumin
1 part chili powder
1 part garlic powder
1/4 part crushed red pepper
(This is a great salt-free taco seasoning, with or without the crushed red pepper.)

Taco Soup Recipe:
2 lb lean ground beef
1 yellow onion chopped
2 clove garlic diced
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 10 oz can rotel (“original” flavor tomatoes and green chilis. To my fellow Texan’s, I used HEB brand.)
1 14 oz can pinto beans
1 14 oz can ranch style beans
1 14 oz can yellow corn drained
2 cups chicken broth (I use low sodium for this, and for any of my ingredients if available.)
1 cup water
2 T taco seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the ground beef and onion. Add the diced garlic towards the end of the browning process. Drain.

Add the ground beef to a stock or crock pot.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Simmer on low for approximately 6 hours.

Ready to eat!

Ladle into individual serving bowls — top with corn chips or baked tortilla chips, and grated cheese (I use colby jack).

Can also top with jalapeno or low fat sour cream.

Per two cup serving (I am NOT guaranteeing my calculations):
6.8 g fat
37 g carb
38.9 g protein
223 g sodium

Let me know what you think, please!

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” – Julia Child

(I miss her!)

natural perfume www.anniesgoathill.comI have fallen in love with several of the natural perfumes that I have formulated recently — from floral to sweet, to captivating warm and smokey.

(formulated by the drop, EO = essential oil)

Sweet and Uplifting

10 Palmarosa EO

8 Sweet Orange EO

3 Petitgrain EO

2 Lime EO

1 Geranium EO

I am not a fan of geranium, but this perfume starts out with a strong floral scent that I love. This blend is composed of top and middle notes, with no base notes, so I am surprised at its lasting power. It dries down to a sweet floral that draws my nose straight to the spot where the perfume is applied…and then I describe it as heavenly.

Warm Smoky Fire

3 Fir Needle EO

4 Juniper Berry EO

4 Cedarwood EO

5 Vetiver EO

2 White Grapefruit EO

I love vetiver, and this perfume dries down so incredibly smokey — perfect. Cedarwood is also one of my soft spot scents. This bold blend takes me to a place that feels like home, very grounded and at peace. This perfume starts its journey on the skin with a rose and fennel type of overlay, soft and sweet.

Patchouli Love

2 Sweet Orange EO

4 Lavender (French) EO

3 Patchouli EO

2 Cedarwood EO

2 Ylang Ylang EO

2 White Grapefruit EO

I adore patchouli, and this perfume dries down to a firm base filled with that love. It starts out with a grassy overlay that holds on dearly for most of the dry down.

***

I use 15% essential oil in a perfume blend, and 4-8 percent in a cologne blend. Jojoba is a great oil to use as a carrier. It is non-staining and sustains the perfume very well. Liquid coconut oil is also a wonderful carrier oil. In a pinch, I use an inexpensive olive oil, which is light yellow in color – not green. A small bottle of this oil goes a long way, inexpensively, and it does not possess more than a hint (if at all) of the aroma of olives. Olive oil does stain clothing — so use caution.

After blending a natural perfume, tightly cap the glass bottle and place it in a dark area where it can sit undisturbed for no less than several weeks. The oils will marry and mature while at rest. When you uncap the bottle, you will find that the oils have blossomed to a beautiful union unlike the day the perfume was formulated.

***

Do you enjoy a relaxing warm bath? Several drops of these blends in a bath are spectacular. Add unscented mineral or sea salts to your bath water, and you truly have a soothing spa experience.

***

In our book, Advanced Soapmaking; Removing the Mystery, we devoted a chapter to natural scent blending. We also teach properties of many common essential oils in this volume.

***

A good fragrance is really a powerful cocktail of memories and emotion. – Jeffrey Stepakoff

Rustic Chicken Stew

rustic chicken stew www.anniesgoathill.comAutumn, the season when we begin thinking of comfort food.

I picture a log cabin with a large hearth in the kitchen, with a black iron pot simmering a soup or stew. Of course, this fills the home with the aroma of mouth-watering goodness.

Well, the hearth isn’t any part of things in my home today, nor is the cabin in the woods, but I have the smell of wholesomeness going on.

On the stove is Rustic Chicken Stew. I found this recipe in the HEB flyer.  For those of you that are non-Texan, HEB is our main, and much-loved, Central Texas (and more locations) grocery store. I did some tweaking to the recipe, which I will tell you about after the instructions.

Rustic Chicken Stew

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb chicken, diced

1 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp granulated garlic powder

1 small onion, chopped

1 can sliced carrots, drained

1 32 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

1 can (14.5 oz) great northern beans, drained

32 oz can low sodium chicken broth

1. Heat olive oil in large pot on medium-high. Add diced chicken and herbs to hot oil and brown thoroughly. Remove from pan and set aside.

2. In the same pan, add the onion and simmer until tender.

3. In the same pan, add the carrots, tomatoes and beans. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes.

4. Pour in chicken broth and simmer on medium heat for at least 20 minutes.

These are the revisions that I made to the original recipe:

  • I used bone-in chicken. The recipe called for boneless. I boiled the chicken, allowed it to cool, then deboned and diced the meat. I used part of the fresh chicken broth as a substitute for canned chicken broth.
  • I used granulated garlic powder instead of 3 cloves garlic, chopped.
  • I left out the 5 oz of baby spinach, chopped. My dear husband does not know what is good for him! If you opt to include spinach, add it when you add the carrots, tomatoes and beans.
  • The original recipe also called for 4 tomatoes, chopped, added after the fresh carrots are simmered until tender (yes, 2 of them, chopped – instead of canned).
  • The original recipe did not call for adding the herbs until after the chicken was browned. I am the type of cook that does not follow directions, and I love the taste of meat that has browned with herbs. Either way, the recipe works beautifully. Browned herbs add a certain type of flavor to any dish – compared to herbs added to the liquids after browning of the meat or vegetables.
  • I simmer this stew on low heat for several hours, and stir as needed.

Cook time: 2 hours

Prep time: 20 minutes

Makes 6 servings, approximately 180 calories and 4.5 grams per serving

Hot homemade cornbread anyone? I believe that would top this off. Don’t forget the real butter!

 

Stories of Hope

360 degrees of grief, hopeAs I removed the key from the lock and I turned away from the door, the warmth from the gleaming sun captured my attention. At that very moment, I promised myself to take notice of every little speck of nature that I could see, smell and hear.

I became aware of newly formed anthills – which looked like tiny volcanoes in the soft rich red-brown earth. I saw indentations in the grass that looked like paths for tiny feet to follow, and there were squirrels hopping from tree to tree – unaware, and not caring, if they lost their grip. Beside them were birds twittering happy tunes while perched on branches that were swaying in the breeze. I took deep breaths of the October scented air. Despite this being Central Texas, I caught the fragrance of autumn.

I lifted my chin up to the endless lucid blue sky and spotted a soaring black bird. It floated and circled in tranquility, and then memories surfaced that shattered my peace.

Heartache appeared out of nowhere, like lava emerging from a crack in the earth. There was no stopping it and I struggled to keep the pain from reflecting on my face. The thought that caused this emergence was, What if that same bird were flying above my farm? I would have avoided this memory at all costs if I had known it was coming, but that is not how grieving works.

Grieving is a process. It starts out with hurt feelings, good memories, anger, wild rides through the ups and the downs, or a mixture of all of the above, and then it settles out. A memory pops in randomly at some point in the future, triggered by a sight, a smell, a voice, or a sound, and the hurt is raw once again — but for a much shorter moment of time.

Through this anthology, I am here today to share hope with you: 360 Degrees of Grief: Reflections of Hope (Selah Press, author Kayla Fioravanti).

This book holds several of my stories, and I was part of the editing team. I was deep into studying one of the stories when God touched my spirit. I became aware that I had been under a blanket of heaviness. I had not walked through the bright new door that God had opened; in fact, I had my foot in the door so that it would not close behind me. What a healing experience that revelation that was! I let go.

I felt compelled to share my breakthrough, so I submitted a third story to this book.

If you are grieving, and even if you are not, this book encapsulates hope. Each author shared their own unique openhearted story of grieving, but by the sheer fact that we gathered and wrote our lessons for you to read, we all grew and moved ahead in our personal journeys. I wish that same healing for you, and for all!

start writing www.anniesgoathill.com

Annie may not have goats in the barn at this point, and she is only in the thinking stages of returning to soap making, but she is definitely glued to some major tasks – book writing!

Update on my books:

Annie’s All About Goats is in the hands of my trusted, talented and extremely appreciated editing team! Progress!

Annie’s lotion making book is approximately 80% complete. In this book I teach the simple process of basic lotion making for the crafty person that wishes to personally benefit from their own made-from-scratch lotion, with goat milk as an ingredient as well. If that were all that I wanted to include in this book, however, the manuscript would be finished. I am in the process of adding product information for people that desire to sell lotions and creams as a business. I have also included my Annie’s Goat Hill formula in the book, which is a creamy viscous lotion that easily squeezes out of thicker pump tubes. A former customer said, “This is goat milk cream!”

Annie also has a youth fiction book which is in the advanced stages of completion. The antics of those two kids! Need I say more?

At this point, I’ll not go into detail about my other book projects – most of which are handwritten on notebook paper and in journals.

Let me know if you have any questions…and look for my books to come!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps…Where You Smell and Feel the Goodness!

essential oil safety, aromatherapy www.anniesgoathill.com

Be careful…be very careful.

I am speaking out about formulas, recipes and instructions that I’ve seen in print – over the internet (Facebook, social media in general, soap making lists), and in books that I’ve downloaded, that have included very poor and/or misinformation about essential oil use.

So, today I am sharing a compilation of basic truths that I feel cannot be expressed enough.

Truths:

  • Essential oils are not safe for ingestion! Do not drink them, and do not include them in your food.
  • Essential oils cannot be derived from each and every species of plant. Other than citrus, a fruit scented liquid that is labeled essential oil is not so! A fruit scented oil (such as strawberry, blueberry, banana, apple, coconut, etc…) is a fragrance oil.
  • Essential oils should not be applied neat (oils must always be diluted – normally with a carrier oil – before applying to the skin).
  • Essential oils must be used with caution – and even more so with the elderly, people that are sick or weak, and children. Use extra caution, or avoid usage altogether, on infants and animals.
  • An absolute diluted in a carrier oil does not equate to a pure essential oil. (Example: Vanilla is in its best form as an absolute. It does not distill well as an essential oil. Vanilla absolute can be diluted with a carrier oil, but the result is NOT to be labeled as pure essential oil). 
  • Any book that teaches essential oil blending, aromatherapy, or the formulating of products that contain essential oils, should include safe usage instructions and warnings.
  • Your nose knows! When an aromatherapist is in training, oils are studied by the book (chemistry make up and how the oil is derived), and through scent. The trained nose becomes familiar with good oils (oils that have not been adulterated). Trust your nose! If you suspect that an oil is not as labeled, you are more than likely correct. Do not use an oil that smells “off”.

Please help protect the freedom we have to use these oils. Misuse and misinformation will speed the boat up that could carry regulation to our doors, or worse, someone could die or become very sick. Stop the dreaded words, “It is natural, so what can it hurt?” It can hurt much…natural does not equate to safe or non-toxic.

 

My background: I am a base level aromatherapist. I took a course through a well-known school, completed projects with actual people, made formulas and products, took a detailed final exam, and received a certificate. Even at that, this does not make me an expert. I have a good understanding of the basics of aromatherapy – safety, usage and chemistry.

Annie’s Goat Hill, Smell and Feel the Goodness!