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These days everyone seems to be talking about pumpkins. But I’m here to talk about butter. I like butter much more than pumpkins.

One day a couple of months ago I had a little bit of heavy whipping cream left over after using some for a recipe. I often find that I have heavy whipping cream taking up space in the fridge only to sadly spoil or to find it’s way into my coffee.. which is probably a bad choice. I did what any average person with a question does these days: I googled it. I found a little tutorial on how to make butter from heavy whipping cream by shaking it vigorously in a jar for 10 minutes. I tried this jar thing and after about 30 minutes of shaking and a significant amount of arm fatigue I sort of had butter. Which proceeded to spoil the following day.

It was suggested that I try a blender instead (what an ingenious idea!). However we don’t have a normal blender. I tried out our immersion blender the next time I had some heavy whipping cream around and with a little more effort than would be needed with a typical blender.. I made butter.

I am now a butter making machine and I would like to share for you my means of making butter. It’s shockingly simple. It will save you money. It’s probably better for you than many store bought butters. It’s fun. And it gives you lots of buttermilk. Who doesn’t want lots of buttermilk?

I started with this half gallon of Horizon organic heavy whipping cream that I bought at Costco for $6.99. I made my butter in smaller batches as needed so I cannot attest to the accuracy of this.. but from a bit of Google research it seems that a half gallon of heavy whipping cream will yield 3-4 lbs of butter. Depending on what type of butter you purchase, where you purchase it, and in what quantities your purchase it your actual savings when making your own butter will vary. I had not been purchasing organic butter because we use so much butter.. it was just too costly. This gets me organic butter, in large quantities, for a little more than one package of butter at the co-op.

I poured some into one of the mixing containers that came with my immersion blender.

I started blending it on the highest speed setting.

Pretty quickly you’ll notice that the cream is doing it’s job… it’s turning into whipped cream. Keep blending past this point. When using an immersion blender you have to lift it up and down to keep the blended cream circulating.

Depending on the speed of your blending apparatus your whipped cream will start to turn a bit chunky and slightly yellow after 5-15 minutes. If you feel like you’re getting nowhere it’s possible that your cream warmed up too much. Simply place it back into the refrigerator for a bit and try again later.

Blend a bit more until you notice a liquid separating from the chunky stuff. The chunks are the butter and the liquid is the buttermilk. My blender starts to give some resistance at this point.

Take a somewhat rigid spatula and press the butter into a big glob.

Switch spatulas when you realize you’re using the IKEA spatula that falls apart and gets stuck in the butter chunk.

Pour out the buttermilk into an awaiting receptacle. I use an old honey jar. Try to get as much buttermilk out of the butter as possible by squishing it a bit more. If buttermilk is left in the butter it will spoil quickly.

I prefer to use a clear container so you can see what’s going on at this point. This part of the process is called ‘washing the butter’. It helps get as much buttermilk out of the butter as possible.

Add some cold water to your container of butter. Use the spatula to press the butter into the sides of the container and fold the butter over and press again. Pour out the water. The butter should stick in the container when you pour and not fall into the sink.

Add cold water again. Notice it is less cloudy but not clear. This means there is still buttermilk in your container. Repeat the washing process.

Repeat the washing process until the water poured out after washing is nearly clear.

Transfer to the container(s) of your choice. And there you have it! Homemade butter!

You can do plenty of things with your butter. I use it when I bake bread, I put it on bread, I butter pans, I add it to recipes which call for butter. Use your buttermilk for things like buttermilk pancakes, and biscuits, and coffee cake like this!

And if you have an 8 month old baby something like this may happen while you’re making butter…

I suggest you give butter making a try. Homemade butter smells and tastes better and is much more rewarding to consume.. at least to me. It’s one of those things that I never knew was so easy! Like making pie crusts. Or bread. Or rice pudding. Why do people buy those things anyway? So stop buying butter.. and make it! Yay!

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Last week I received my package of products to review from Swanson Health Products. I was happy to have been able to choose, with a $25 budget, what I was going to review. For the most part I found Swanson’s website easy to navigate and found a decent amount of information about each product. I did my best to rearrange my shopping cart multiple times in an attempt to get the price to approximately $25 – that was rough.. I wanted so many things! I was impressed with the great prices, too!

I ended up with the following:
Lemon Glycerin Liquid Hand Soap
JASON Natural Aloe Body Lotion
Crème de Mint Toothpaste
Jojoba Revitalizing Shampoo
Jojoba Revitalizing Conditioner
Baby’s Bliss Gripe Water

The package arrived quickly and I was impressed by the care taken to pack the individual products. Most were sealed in plastic and had tape over the top to prevent having a box full of globs of lotion and shampoo sitting at my doorstep. The two items in cardboard boxes, however, were a little banged up (Baby’s Bliss Gripe Water & Creme de Mint Toothpaste). This would be a major downside if I happened to be ordering these items to give to someone (gripe water could be a potential baby shower gift I suppose.. a gift of toothpaste might be kind of rude) but I immediately took both out of their cardboard boxes and proceeded to recycle the boxes so it was no biggie.

The first item I was eager to try was the Lemon Glycerin Liquid Hand Soap from Avalon Organics which I placed in our kitchen. I ordered it to replace the harsh and extremely unpleasant commercial grade soap we had in there (which has now moved to the basement utility sink). I have only good things to say about this soap – it is so silky smooth between your fingers when you’re washing your hands, it lathers nicely, and you’re left with a wonderful lemon scent. My husband also commented on how much he enjoyed the lemon scent after trying the soap. Lemon Glycerin Liquid Hand Soap contains organic lemon essential oil – not artificial fragrance. It also contains aloe and vitamin E, among many other (good!) things, is 70% organic, and does not contain parabens. I highly recommend Lemon Glycerin Liquid Hand Soap!

The second item I tried was JASON Natural Aloe Body Lotion which I was extremely excited for. I didn’t have any decent lotion and was hesitant to use any with parabens or fragrances since I touch Olive so often and she tries to eat my hands and arms so often. This lotion is a nice big bottle with a pump top. I like pump tops for lotion so you can grab it in when in a hurry (such as when you have a tiny crying baby waiting impatiently for you) and you don’t have to fool around with a bottle and a lid and get everything all greasy. JASON Natural Aloe Body Lotion is 70% aloe vera, and paraben free. Wonderful! So far it’s been working well – I have used it on my hands multiple times, my face a few times, and on my body this morning after taking a shower. My skin was not irritated by the lotion and I have not needed to reapply it throughout the day as I do with some lotions. I recommend JASON Natural Aloe Body Lotion as well.

Next I tried Crème de Mint Toothpaste from Nature’s Gate. My husband was just about out of his somewhat natural toothpaste from Trader Joes and I was eager to try something other than the Rembrandt Canker Sore tooth paste I’ve been using for years. I get canker sores frequently and most toothpaste has an ingredient that can cause them or make them worse! This toothpaste is fluoride free and made with baking soda and spearmint oil. I’ve found many recipes for homemade toothpaste that also contain baking soda and an oil but have not gotten around to making them. For less than $3 this is a decent alternative to homemade! The ingredient list is simple and easy to understand which I like when it’s something I’m going to be putting in my mouth. Crème de Mint Toothpaste is minty but not overpowering and it gets pretty foamy when you brush. Overall my teeth feel clean after brushing which is what I expect from a toothpaste and I don’t feel bad taking a drink of water or swallowing, for that matter, after brushing my teeth. Recommended!

Next up are Jojoba Revitalizing Shampoo and Jojoba Revitalizing Conditioner, both from Nature’s Gate. I believe there are three Nature’s Gate Shampoo & Conditioners to choose from and, based on the descriptions of what hair type they are for, I choose Jojoba as I typically look for a little pick me up for my hair but not too much volume or I turn into a poof. I personally like this shampoo & conditioner thus far (I have only used it once). It smells nice and my hair didn’t come out frizzy but it has good volume and shine. On the negative side the shampoo did not lather well and this usually leads me to use too much shampoo because I don’t feel like it’s working unless I get a good pile of bubbles. I refrained from getting more and found my hair to be squeaky clean upon rinsing despite the little lather. Also on the negative, my husband was not as pleased with shampoo & conditioner. He found it to cause his hair to be frizzy. The effectiveness of these two products probably depend on your hair type. My hair is thin, long, and gets oily easily. My husband’s hair is more coarse and has less volume than mine. I recommend Jojoba Revitalizing Shampoo and Jojoba Revitalizing Conditioner – my husband does not.

Lastly is a product for little Olive – I couldn’t leave her out! We tried Baby’s Bliss Gripe Water in an effort to ease her evening colic. From what I’ve read, the way that Olive acts, and what eases her colic, I don’t feel that colic is tummy related, at least 100% of the time. Gripe water works sometimes and sometimes it doesn’t. It has calmed her rather quickly more than 50% of the time. When she begins to get fussy, typically in the evenings, we try to the usual circuit – nursing, changing, snuggling, carrying, etc. When those fail we fill up a tiny bottle with one teaspoon of gripe water and she sucks it down surprisingly well. Despite having tasted only breast milk previous to her first bit of gripe water Olive latched on to the bottle and sucked away! It didn’t take long for her to calm. Like I said – this does not work 100% of the time but it is a useful tool for a fussy baby. It is easy to use, Olive likes the taste, and the ingredients are simple and natural – more acceptable to us than most gripe waters that we researched. If you have a fussy or colicy baby I suggest you add Baby’s Bliss Gripe Water to your bag of tricks!

I will be buying from Swanson Health Products in the future!

** Swanson Health Products sent me these products for free in exchange for my honest review **

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