Category Archives: Recipes

Benefits of Sheet Masks (& some recipes!)

Well honestly, is there much a good face mask can’t cure? They are amazing at addressing skin woes, minimizing pore, blemish reduction…and they’re great for your stress level because you have to stop and relax for 15-30 minutes while you’re wearing it. So that crappy day at school, the office, with the kids, whatever…is going to fade away while you hang out and do nothing but breathe and chill and let your face mask give you beautiful skin.

Masks trap moisture and beneficial ingredients in the skin and creates a film that helps to hydrate, moisturize, dry, exfoliate, restore, protect, refine, firm, brighten… (depending on the mask recipe.) Face masks are designed to allow ingredients to penetrate into the skin in a short amount of time.

You are probably familiar with clay masks, but…what the what is a sheet mask? Sheet masks came out of the K-Beauty trend. K-Beauty is short for Korean Beauty Trends.

For decades now, skincare aficionados in Korea have been innovating sheet masks, gel creams, and eye serums into their routines, incorporating ingredients both new and traditional to their regional culture.

K-Beauty’s rise in popularity in the West began several years ago, when products in quirky, eye-catching packaging began appearing in specialty cosmetic stores. These new offerings boasted an ingredient list both fascinating and provocative, sparking conversation and debate around worrisome elements like snail slime and squid ink. In spite of (or perhaps helped by) the controversy raised by its sometimes unsettling recipes, K-Beauty has continued to grow in popularity here in the U.S, and beyond because there are some fantastic ideas here and a lot of them utilize things you probably already have in your kitchen.

Seriously there are some amazingly wonderful beauty ideas that have come from K-Beauty so let’s take a look at why home sheet masks! I promise we’re not going to use any of those “worrisome” ingredients.

Hydration
The fabric used prevents water evaporation allowing for better absorption of the mask solution and maintains skin hydration.

Anti-Oxidant Properties
Due to phenols and bioflavonoids (see my post … ) many masks have anti-ox properties and can prevent free radical damage to keep skin healthy…and remember free radical eradication is anti-aging

Budget Friendly
Doing stuff at home saves money! Sheet masks are like a stay-cation for your face!! Check out my line of Mask Powders and combine them with the liquid of your choice – you save money over those big-name masks, and you’ll probably actually use them more! Win win win!!!

Customizable
You can customize the solutions…need some of the benefits from a couple different formulas? No worries, mix that goodness together!

Here are some DIY at home Sheet Mask recipes you can whip up in your kitchen, too. For your Sheet Mask pellets, brushes, and more targeted skin care formulation head on over to catspawfarm.com, too.

The Basics:
Gather Your Ingredients & Tools
Mix your Ingredients
Hydrate your Mask
Drape your Mask
Relax
Remove and Enjoy your pampered skin

Easy-peasy! Here’s a great recipe to get started with. This is good for all skin types and green tea fights free-radicals and brightens skin.

Super Simple Starter Mask (SSSM)
Brew a cup of green tea and let it cool completely. You can leave the tea bag in the liquid while it cools down to concentrate the tea, too.

Combine 2 tablespoons of the cooled tea with 2 tablespoons of your favorite Cats Paw Farm Toner in a shallow bowl and stir well. Dip your sheet mask into the mixture and let it get soaked. Pull the mask out and allow it to drip dry over the bowl. Don’t wring all the good stuff out, but you don’t want it dripping all over either.
Lean back in your favorite chair or lay down. Drape the sheet mask on your and smooth it with your fingers (or use a sheet mask brush for more control) so it covers your facial skin. Relax for 30 minutes.

Remove the sheet mask and discard if it’s a disposable, or set it aside for cleaning if it’s a reusable.
Splash some cool water on your face and then toss the remaining mask mix (yes there will be leftover so share your mask time with a friend if it bothers you to throw out the leftover.)

Toss a couple of ice cubes and a squeeze of lemon in the cup of remaining green tea and enjoy a refreshing beverage that is full of anti-oxidants for your insides, too!

the following recipes use the same basics as the SSSM so I’m just going to list the specific ingredients rather than describing how to do the whole mask.

Detox Mask 1
1 tsp almond flour (or crush a couple almonds to fine powder)
2 tbsp olive oil
note This mask is best done with a disposable sheet mask as it is really difficult to get the mask clean again after using an oil based mask. Remember that oils are good for our skin…see my post…

Detox Mask 2
2 tbsp green tea
3-4 drops lemon juice
1/8 tsp honey (dissolve in the tea while it’s still warm for best results)

Refreshing Mask 1
1 tbsp-aloe juice mixed with about 1 tbsp clean water

Refreshing Mask 2
1 tbsp watermelon juice (or finely mashed fresh watermelon) mixed with about 1 tbsp aloe

Dry Skin Mask
1 tbsp aloe mixed with 1 tbsp rose water

Calming Mask 1
enough mashed cucumber (no seeds or rind) to get about 2 tbsp liquid. After mashing you can squeeze the mash to get the liquid that you’re after.

Calming Mask 2
Chamomile flowers and lavender flowers steeped in boiling water and cooled. You’ll use about 2 tbsp for your mask.

Grounding Mask (oily skin)
A couple lemon balm (Melissa) leaves steeped in boiling water and cooled. You’ll use about 1 tbsp for your mask mixed with 1 tbsp witch hazel.

Cooling Mask (sensitive skin)
1 tbsp peppermint tea cooled and mixed with 1 tbsp cucumber juice

Brightening Mask 1 (acne/mature/sensitive skin)
2 tbsp green tea mixed with a few drops rosehip oil and (optionally) 2 drops chamomile essential oil

Brightening Mask 2
2 tbsp rice water.
This one requires some advance planning, but it’s worth it. The evening before your mask soak your amount of rice (white or brown) in twice as much water. Soak the sheet mask in the liquid for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator before applying to face.

Oatmeal Mask (sunburn, soothing)
Finely powder about a tsp of oatmeal and mix into 3 tbsp water and let it sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes before soaking your mask. Optionally you can mix in a couple drops of honey, too.

Nourishing Face Mask
Not everyone has seaweed powder in their kitchen, but if you do this is a nice recipe.
Mix 1/2 tsp powdered seaweed in 2 tbsp green tea.

Pore Tightening Mask
2 tbsp rose water with 3-4 drops glycerin mixed in.

Acne Prone Skin Mask
1 tbsp witch hazel mixed with 1 tbsp water and 1 drop of tea tree essential oil

Hydrating Mask (sensitive skin)
1 tbsp aloe juice mixed with 1 tbsp cooled green tea and 2 drops chamomile essential oil

Honey Mask
Honey has so many great properties for skin. I love this mask and have a few tips…first being to pull your hair off your face. No one wants sticky honey hair. Unless you do (honey is a great hair mask, too.) Also, you’ll want to use a sheet mask brush to apply the honey to your face.
Honey is the only ingredient – use the mask brush to apply and then apply a clean sheet mask over the top. Use a (cleaned) mask brush to contour the mask to your face. Leave on for 20-30 minutes. I rinse this one off in the shower for the least amount of mess.

Mature Skin Mask
Here’s another honey mask that’s great for mature skin! Mix your honey with 1 tsp rosehip oil and apply as described above.

Now that we have a few recipes to try I need to remind you about….

Things Not to Put Directly Onto Your Skin Without Mixing Into a Base…
Lemon Juice
Apple Cider
These ingredients can make the skin overly sensitive to light and could cause skin bleaching when used as a stand-alone ingredient.

REMEMBER WHEN WORKING WITH REFRIGERATOR INGREDIENTS
If you wouldn’t eat it outright – do not put it on your face. Throw that sketchy tub of yogurt out…It’s not still good to use for anything else if you wouldn’t eat it right now.

Timing
Your mask is good for THAT DAY. A home wet-mask is exposed to the environment and bacteria have a field day with fresh ingredients – so don’t wait – use it as soon as you make it (or at least within an hour) – 20 minutes if it has dairy ingredients (and you can substitute milk for water in any mask.) How long would you let milk sit out and still drink it? That’s how long your milk mask has, too.

If you’re not feeling playing with what’s in your kitchen that’s ok! Come on over and check out the Mask Powders that I create. You can use these with the liquid of your choice. I love green tea, milk, and even diluted lotion for these. You can mix them thicker for a clay mask experience or dilute for sheet masks. Each jar has about 10-20 masks worth of powder depending on how you mix it. (These are all different ingredients from the recipes above.)

Enjoy exploring Sheet Masks!!

Next time maybe we’ll chat about how to turn your CP Mask Powders into Jelly Masks, cos all masks are awesome and really we just can’t get enough of them!

Discover #greenbeauty #cleanbeauty #skincare at Cats Paw Farm.

Salt Scrub & Sugar Scrub Recipes & Tips

Salt Scrubs and Sugar Scrubs are both popular and beneficial products in skin care routines. Did you know you do not have to spend tons of money to buy them?! They are so easy, so economical, and so very good for your skin that I prefer to show and tell how to make these than to sell them to you.

Scrubs are a mechanical exfoliant that slough the built-up dead skin cells on skin’s surface that create a dulling of the complexion and a rough texture. Removing this build up regularly allows your skin to absorb your subsequent products better and can help you achieve a bright even complexion. Let’s take a look at the difference between Salt & Sugar Scrubs and what these 2 kitchen pantry ingredients mean to your skin…

Salt (usually) has a larger particles that are more abrasive. Salt is perfect for exfoliating the majority of the body, including heels and the soles of the foot. Salt is very beneficial to skin as it is a natural deodorizer, balances pH, helps retain hydration, and has both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Sea Salt contains calcium, potassium, and magnesium and these are all great for your skin, fighting off bacteria, minor infections, and increasing healing rates. Grandma always had a container of salt in the car when we went on day trips, along with a canteen of water…just in case someone needed a wound cleaned out (yes, it hurts like the old adage says, but it’s better than getting an infection.) Salt water can be used as a facial rinse in between cleansing and toning, too.

*Tip: Salt is also a great anti-dandruff scalp treatment. Part your hair and sprinkle a bit of salt onto your scalp then use wet fingers to massage the scalp gently for about 10 minutes. Bonus points to you if you can get someone else to do this for you because scalp massages are a-maz-ing! When you’re done massaging wash and condition as usual. The results will most likely astound you!

It’s okay to use a Salt Scrub 2-3 times a week, though if your skin is dry or very sensitive then once a week should be plenty of exfoliation. Please note that you do not have to use special salt to benefit. Table salt works just fine for scrubs. If you happen to have a dead sea salt or Himalayan salt then yes that’s better due to the mineral boost your skin will receive, but they are absolutely not necessary.

*Tip: Beach Hair – there are a lot of expensive Beach Hair Sprays. You do not need to buy those to get that look because the active ingredients are water (purified if you want to store it out of the fridge), the conditioner you currently use, and salt. That’s it! So grab a spray bottle and mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt and stir until the salt is dissolved. Add 1 teaspoon of your hair conditioner (Cats Paw Farm Detangling Hair Conditioner is perfect for this) and shake it all together. Spray onto towel dried hair and scrunch your hair with your hands. Enjoy your beachy hair!

Ok, on to Sugar and Sugar Scrubs….so what does sugar do for your skin? Plenty (and I think you’ll really love this)! Sugar is a natural source of glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is one of the alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), is a humectant (reduces the loss of moisture in skin), helps fade hyperpigmentation, increases luminosity, helps treat sun-damage, encourages cell turn-over, and exfoliates.

There are three types of sugar that are suitable for scrubs and each has its own features and benefits. You most likely have 2 of them and possibly all 3! Brown Sugar is ultra fine and the least abrasive of sugars used in scrubs. Brown sugar is perfect for sensitive skin and for facial scrubs. You can use a brown sugar scrub every other day.

Cane Sugar (unrefined white is best and is probably already in your pantry) is a good all purpose scrub and works for body scrub and for facial scrub. Leave 2 days in between treatments.

Turbinado Sugar may also be in your pantry, and is a coarse granule sugar and is best for body scrubs. Because it is the least processed of the 3 sugars and so has the most minerals contained within. Turbinado scrubs can be used twice a week (or leave 3 days in between treatments.)

Let’s chat about oil for a minute, too. You probably already have 2 or 3 oils in your pantry that are perfect for making scrubs. Coconut Oil is moisturizing and is becoming very well known for its antibacterial properties. It’s also a great hair moisturizer and scalp conditioner (I’ll blog about coconut oil in the future, too.) Avocado Oil (I use this in salad dressings) is supportive of skin elasticity, and it is great for mature skin! The third pantry oil is Olive Oil. Olive Oil is perfect for very dry skin. It is also a humectant and is very good for soothing itchy skin. I love an Olive Oil Salt Scrub in the winter – wonderful for the seasonal itchies! If you have Vitamin E capsules in the cupboard, puncture one end with a pin and squeeze it into your scrub recipe if you’d like. Vitamin E is a natural anti-oxidant and it is great for your skin.

*Tip: Use your Scrub at the end of your shower or bath. This will soften the outer layer of skin (& that dead stuff you want to slough off that’s all dried out!)
Apply the scrub to your entire body in small circular motions. Lean over the sink if you’re just having a facial scrub. Massage for a minute or two. Don’t rub too hard, you don’t have to – let the scrub do the work.
Rinse and enjoy your beautiful, soft, supple, glowing skin.

Basic Salt Scrub Recipe

Salt 1 cup
Oil 1/2 cup


In a small bowl, combine the 2 ingredients and mix well to coat the granules with oil. If you wish to use essential keep it light – a couple of drops goes a long way with essentials.

Store in a glass jar and use within a month.

I don’t personally recommend flower buds and petals in any scrub. They look nice but they are a mess to clean out of your tub, are not going to store well and will eventually mold. If you use these recipes for someone as a gift maybe consider dressing up the outside of the container instead of adding flower bits to the inside.

Basic Sugar Scrub Recipe

Sugar of choice 1 cup
Oil of choice (3-5 tablespoons) added 1 tablespoon at a time until the consistency is sandy, but not soupy.


Optionally you can add a couple drop of essential, or a few drops of fresh lemon juice if desired. If the mixture gets soupy the sugar will dissolve in a few day, just add more sugar if that happens. Soupy won’t exfoliate well, but you can still reap the moisturizing benefits of the mixture by using it as a mask.

Store in a glass jar and use within a month.

Feeling adventurous? Try this one….

Basic Coffee Scrub Recipe

Finely ground coffee beans 1/2 cup
Brown Sugar 1/2 cup
Oil of choice about 1/4 cup, added slowly until consistency is sandy


Coffee is not only a wonderful exfoliant, but our skin can absorb caffeine so this is a wonderful wake-up scrub. (This is also why Cats Paw Espresso Bar soap is so popular! There’s a pot of coffee in every loaf of soap.) Coffee is also an anti-inflammatory.

Store in a glass jar and use within a month.

Need a skin healing boost? Salt & Honey Scrub is really luxurious as well…combine the exfoliation properties of salt with the moisturizing and skin protecting properties of raw honey and this is basically a high end spa treatment at home. I’ve seen this sell for $70 for an 8 ounce jar. You can make it for about $2.

Salt & Honey Scrub Recipe

Salt 1 cup
Raw Honey 1/3 cup
Oil of choice 1/2 cup


Mix the honey and oil together and then mix in the salt. Add a few drops of essential if you wish, but the honey smells amazing all by itself.

Store in a glass jar and use within a month.


I hope you enjoy these recipes and this post. Check out Cats Paw Farm Mercantile for great #cleanbeauty skin care. You can also find us on Facebook, and Instagram, too.

Shrub Syrup Concentrate

Shrubs? – What are they?
Shrub, often referred to as drinking vinegar or sipping vinegar is a cordial concoction that showcases both the flavor of the fruit and botanicals, and the vinegar. It is an acidic syrup which adds depth and complexity to a variety of drinks and culinary dishes.

If you’ve never had a shrub before, they are about the most refreshing thing you can drink, especially in the summertime! They are packed with electrolytes from the vinegar and vitamins from the fruits. This is why we often liken them to “Old-Timey (insert name brand electrolyte drink here)”

History
Nearly always, the first thing people wish to know about Shrubs is why are they called Shrubs. The word shrub is derived from the Arabic word sharab which means “to drink.” Shrubs were brought to Europe by traders from the exotic Middle East in the 15th century as medicinal elixirs.

Traces of vinegar have been found throughout civilization. Egyptian urns dated to 3000 B.C. contain traces of vinegar, and documentation in Babylonian scrolls record the use of date palm fruit to make vinegar dating to around 5000 B.C. It has been known as “poor man’s wine”, and we’ve all probably had that bottle of wine in the back of the fridge that we poured out because it became “vinegary.” Well, the French word vinaigre means “sour wine”. Vinegar is a sour liquid that is produced from the fermentation of diluted alcohol products, so that makes perfect sense. During the first step of a two step process, vinegar is derived from fermentation of a sugar containing source such as grapes or grains. Sugars break down in the absense of oxygen by yeast and produce alcohol and carbon dioxide. Come on, you knew there’d be chemistry in here somewhere, at least if you know me even a little. In the second step the addition of oxygen enables bacteria (good bacteria!) to produce amino acids, water, and some other compounds. Over time and around the world a wide variety of vinegars have been created. In all probability, the creation of vinegar was a complete and fortuitous failure to produce alcohol

We know back as far as 2000 B.C. Babylonians were using vinegar to heal wounds and this was a practice continued through World War I. Hippocrates (the father of modern medicine) prescribed apple cider vinegar mixed with honey for coughs, colds, and other ills. Ancient Greeks utilized vinegar for preservation and the Romans used it as a drink, and sometimes partially converted wines on purpose to use for preservation of foods for storage and travel. There is documentation of the flavored vinegar brines of fish being carried by Roman soldiers, and ketchup originated as an oriental fish vinegar brine that had sugar added to it to create the predecessor of the condiment we now know. Because there was a spectacular increase in the types of foods available because of expanding trade routes, Europeans of the time were creating a vast number of clever recipes using vinegar.

Thanks to research by historians such as Tim Oakley, Bill Toland, Jessica Gelt, and Katie Loeb (thanks guys!) we know some pretty interesting things about Shrubs: the most interesting to me being that early versions of the drink as we know it were being developed parallel with flavored alcoholic counterparts, but for very different reasons. During the late 17th century, smugglers used to sink barrels of spirits offshore to avoid paying import taxes. To mask the taste of sea water that inevitably fouled the alcohol, fruit was put into the barrels. This also helped weight the barrels so they sank faster. This fun fact alone makes me wonder if smugglers were somewhat responsible for some of the fruity vodka flavors we enjoy today. An early recipe in 1864’s The English and Australian Cookery Book (which is considered the first Austrlian Cookbook and was penned for the upper eschelon of society) specified nuts, spices, and oranges infused into rum. This indicates to me that not only did the smugglers do a good job with their flavoring (enough to encourage experimentation,) but that flavoring alcohol eventually became a standard practice across all social classes.

Ok, back to vinegar…What we now know as Shrub was derived from the “pour off” of preserved barrels of fruits and as our ancestors were a thrifty lot, this liquid became a commodity in its own right. It was prized for its restorative qualities. The practice of drinking vinegars carried over into colonial America. While not intentionally created as was the fruited alcohol, both mechanisms do bear a striking resemblance to each other in their ability to preserve and to be flavored.

Shrubs went in and out of fashion for nearly 400 years. They were sold in public houses alongside alcoholic beverages. All social classes partook of Shrubs, though due to basically being the world’s first energy drink they found favor with those who worked hard and required constant hydration. During the Temperance Movement of the 19th century Shrubs were considered acceptable alternatives to spirits. It became trendy during this time to find historical and biblical refereces to imbibing drinking vinegars which lent additional legitimacy to the beverage. The drink that started its American presence as a thirst quenching drink for field laborers is now enjoying a resurgence as a flavoring for water, cocktails, meat marinades, sauces, and salad vinaigrettes.

Shrub vs Switchel
You might hear the word Switchel in conjunction with Shrubs. Shrubs (aka Drinking Vinegar) and Switchels (aka Swizzle or Haymaker’s Punch) have both some similarities and differences. Both have history as a way to preserve fruits with vinegar. Shrubs rely on the fruit and sugar for their flavor while Switchels rely on the vinegar combined with ginger and molasses for their flavor. Shrubs are fruity while Switchels are closer in taste to flat ginger beer. Switchels are meant to be consummed as a stand alone drink while Shrubs are a syrup which can flavor a variety of liquids or be used in a culinary capacity.

Versatility
Shrub Syrup Concentrate makes a very refreshing, thirst-quenching drink when combined with water, seltzer/sparkling water, and iced tea. It’s also useful and yummy used as the vinegar portion of BBQ sauce and meat marinade. Salad dressing really showcases the flavors of Shrup Syrup Concentrate in a simple oil and vinegar preparation. I especially love an oil/shrub dressing on fresh spring mix greens with a little feta.

Benefits of Drinking Shrub
The benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar are many! Studies show that daily consumption of acv leads to regulation of blood sugar levels and reduced cholesterol. By preventing your body from fully digesting starch, acv lowers the body’s glycemic resonse to the starch ingested thus keeping blood sugar levels in check. There is chat about its weight loss benefits and this is thought to be because of the satiety conferred between meals. Scientists are studying links between tumor size/growth rate and consumption of apple cider vinegar, as well as cancer risk and acv consumption. Research is also being done into the effects and potential benefits for diabetics. That’s research – not conclusions yet, so if you fall into one of those health scenarios then discuss with your physician and make your choices.

You may have heard about all the ways energy drinks are bad for those who consume them? If you are looking for a natural and healthy energy boost then Shrubs are a great answer. ACV contains enzymes and potassium that counter fatigue and also which have alkalizing effects in the body. ACV nutrients can help buffer acidity and restore an alkaline pH, protecting against oxidation and cellular damage. Ascetic acid as well as acv’s other acids (malic and ascorbic) have been shown to improve the body’s nonheme iron uptake and that’s even more important for vegetarians and vegans that do not get heme iron from consuming animal products. Ascorbic acid in acv also enhances copper absorption, and copper helps the body absorb iron. Iron is needed to transport oxygen between muscle cells, which helps produce energy. This is why many people who are iron deficient suffer from fatigue.

ACV helps lower high blood pressure because it helps reduce sodium levels. Potassium works with sodium to maintain blood pressure levels, but when there’s too much sodium in the body blood pressure goes up. Adding extra potassium via acv can help balance the sodium in the blood and reduces high blood pressure. Shrubs are a great alternative to those seeking to move away from the empty calories and sugar overload of soft drinks.

I had to throw some more science in here. It’s awesome info! I know, I’m a nerd. You’re welcome. lol

Shelf Life
One of the main reasons Shrubs fell out of style the last time was due to the advent of home refrigeration. I see this as precisely why they have become of interest again. Our society is becoming more in tune with our past, and we are looking for alternatives to food storage and preparation – just in case. Shrub Syrup Concentrates can wait patiently in the pantry for several years unopened, and for about a year in the refrigerator after opening.

Cats Paw Farm Shrub Syrup Concentrates
I seasonally create several flavors of Shrub Syrup Concentrate.
Currently in stock are:
Apple Sage
Apricot Cacao
Blackberry Lemonbalm
Cherry Thyme
Huckleberry Wild Rose
Peach Cinnamon
Pear Rosemary
Raspberry Mint
Strawberry Chamomile
Plum Basil will be back soon, the plums are nearly ripe for this year’s batch.
All flavors are available in 6oz bottles, and most are also available in 14oz bottles. 6oz bottles are available on our website. Currently the 14oz bottles are only available through our physical storefront. I’m working on finding a box appropriately sized for shipping them.

Recipes
Here’s a Basic Shrub Salad Dressing
1/2 cup Shrub Syrup Concentrate of your choice (I like Blackberry Lemon)
1/2 cup olive or avocado oil
2-3 tbsp pure maple syrup or raw honey
1 clove minced garlic (optional)
salt of your choice (I like himalayan pink salt) and pepper
Whisk it all together and drizzle over your salad. Yummy!! This lasts well in the fridge for about a week

“French” Dressing
1/2 cup Shrub Syrup Concentrate of your choice (I like Strawberry Chamomile)
1/2 cup olive or coconut oil
1 tsp tomato paste (or 1/3 cup ketchup)
2-3 tbsp pure maple syrup or raw honey
1 tsp paprika
salt of your choice (I like himalayan pink salt) and pepper
Whisk it all together and drizzle over your salad. Yummy!! This lasts well in the fridge for about a week

Basic Marinade (chicken, pork, steak, salmon, veggies…)
ACV weakens the colagen and protein in meat so will soften a tough steak as well as flavor it. Limit veggie marination to 30 minutes; fish, pork, chicken, and any kabob meat to 2 hours max, and steak to 6-8 hours.

1 cup oil of your choice (olive is good, it helps seal in the juiciness)
1/2 cup Shrub Syrup Concentrate
1/3 cup tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp mustard (Honey Dijon is good or Peach Mustard for pork)
optional as desired
1 small onion minced if not blending
2 cloves garlic if not blending
thyme leaves and/or rosemary leaves as desired (no stems)

You can either 1) whisk all of this together or 2) add it to a food processor and blend it
Add the meat to a bag or a bowl and add the marinade. Cover tightly if you use a bowl. Place in refrigerator for the desired time according to your meat or veggie type and turn the food a couple of times so it gets evenly exposed to the marinade.

Not-Really-Recipes, but More Ideas on how I use Shrubs in Cooking
I cook a lot without a recipe. Shrubbed Chicken is a favorite for me. I cook on the stovetop in a skillet. Pat the chicken down with olive oil and sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and basil over the meat. Brown the meat and then add a few tablespoons of Shrub Syrup Concentrate (Pear Rosemary is good) to the pan and let it steam to finish cooking. The flavor and texture is great! You can also do this with pork and salmon.

Shrub Seltzer
Simply choose your favorite flavor of Shrub Concentrate and pour a little into seltzer over crushed ice. The Shrub Syrup Concentrate lends a festive splash of color and a refreshing tangy twist. We all need to drink water, why not make it fun?

Sober Mule
Add Apple Sage Shrub Concentrate to ginger ale and garnish with a slice of lime.

Ginger Pear-fection
1 part Pear Rosemary Shrub Syrup
1 part Ginger Liqueur
2 parts whiskey
.5 part fresh lemon juice
splash of seltzer water
Stir the first 4 ingredients together with ice and strain into a lowball glass full of ice. Top it with seltzer water and garnish with lemon peel.

Berry Shrub Cocktail
1 part Raspberry Lemonbalm Shrub Syrup
1 part Vodka, Gin, or Tequila – your choice
splash of seltzer water
Add Shrub Syrup and alcohol to a glass of ice and garnish with raspberries (or other seasonal fruit)
This one can be made with any Shrub Syrup just switch out the garnish for something appropriate

Peach Out
1 part Peach Cinnamon Shrub Syrup
2 parts Vodka
.5 parts fresh lemon juice
drizzle of honey
just a dash of bitters
Shake all of this together and train into a glass over ice. Top it with seltzer water and garnish with a cinnamon stir stick.

I’m always cooking up something, and lately my thoughts have turned to a fruity Shrub Salsa. I’m thinking peaches, onion, maybe a little jalapeno and some Huckleberry Wild Rose Shrub Syrup.

Thanks to my beautiful sister Katie for suggesting that I write this blog article so she has all my info & trivia about Shrubs in one place, and to my husband Cole (Goats Ate My Book Blog) for proofing for me when my eyes started to cross from rewrites. You are both loved and adored!

Homemade Laundry Soap + Recipe

Homemade Laundry Soap is simple to make, cost effective, and great for families with members having sensitive skin, who want to get away from toxins and synthetics, and who like to know what is in their cleaning products. The ingredients can be found in your local grocery store. If you do not have extra handcrafted soap to shred, we sell 100% olive oil Castile which has been aged for at least 4 months (most for over a year) which is perfect for this project. We specify handcrafted soap because it is natural and does not contain synthetic detergents like commercial bars. Whatever your reason for making laundry soap it would be counterproductive to start off with a detergent bar, yes?

This is a recipe I came up with in the early 2000’s because I’ve had a detergent sensitivity since I was a child (much to the dismay of my Mom who really wanted her daughter to wash dishes!) It was less of a challenge to create an effective laundry soap recipe than to find a commercial product that didn’t leave me with patches of dermatitis wherever my clothing touched my skin.

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 3 cups of shredded handcrafted soap
  • 2 cups Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 3 mL lemongrass or lavender essential oil (optional)

You’ll also need

  • disposable plastic pipets for measuring the essential oil
  • grater
  • measuring cups
  • a 1/2 gallon sized bowl
  • either 2 gallon zip seal bags, or an air tight container/lid combination
  • a permanent marker for labeling your laundry soap bag/bowl
  • nitrile gloves (optional)
Grated soap

How to:

  1. Wear gloves if desired.
  2. Grate the handcrafted soap until you have 3 cups. Once grated, continue to crumble the soap shreds until they are as small as possible.
  3. In the bowl, combine shredded, crumbled soap with the washing soda and citric acid.
  4. Mix, mix, mix, mix, mix.
  5. Add essential oil if desired.
  6. Mix, mix, mix, mix, mix. Voila! Homemade Laundry Soap!!
  7. If using zip seal bags, put one bag inside the other. Yes, use 2…you’ll thank me when they don’t burst like a single bag most likely will. 😉
  8. Put the laundry soap into the bags, or into an air tight container.
  9. Label your Laundry soap.
  10. Use it and enjoy your amazing Laundry Soap!
Finished Laundry Soap

You can utilize your Homemade Laundry Soap in HE machines. We use about 1 tablespoon per load in ours. It is appropriate for hand washables, too. If you need a bit more of a boost for extra greasy, dirty laundry try scrubbing it into the stain with a brush and hot water and possibly adding a bit more washing soda directly to the stain and scrubbing. Let it sit for awhile (but not so long the wetted area dries out), and then launder as usual. Check the stain prior to drying.


Thanks for reading! If you want a hard copy of this recipe just let me know. I have them printed on glossy stock here at Cats Paw Mercantile. They’re the perfect size for affixing to the tub you make your soap in or filing for future reference. I’ll send you one.