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Monday, May 8, 2017

Mrs. Meyer’s Bodywash: Garden-inspired cleansers I love!




Many of you know that I am a bit of a “garden fanatic”, always looking for new herbs, flowers, and veggies to plant in our garden at the Elkhorn Inn, and thanks to being a member of Crowdtap, I recently had the opportunity to sample (and now review) a great garden-inspired product:  Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Honeysuckle Body Wash! http://www.mrsmeyers.com/honeysuckle-body-wash/ I have to say that I am Very glad I got to try it, because I’ve now found a new product- and a new line of products- that I really love and will be buying more of! The natural, garden-inspired fragrance of the Bodywash is really delicious- naturally sweet honeysuckle, not cloying or chemical-smelling, and I love the way it leaves my skin feeling:  smooth, silky, and really clean! I use it in the bath, as well as the shower, because while I find a shower invigorating, at night I really love to soak in a hot, fragrant tub before I go to bed to really relax myself! And I've found that Mrs. Meyer’s Honeysuckle Body Wash is a lovely way to do just that, and go to bed clean and fragrant!
Mrs Meyers Bodywash on my tub...
 Another great plus, is that Mrs. Meyer’s Bodywashes are really inexpensive- a big 16 oz. bottle is only $7.99! (They also have a really good coupon on the website right now:  http://www.mrsmeyers.com/) I do wish that a store in our area (southern West Virginia or Bluefield Virginia), such as Walmart, carried Mrs. Meyer’s products, but as they don’t, we’ll be ordering online…) The Honeysuckle Bodywash contains Aloe Vera Gel, which softens the skin, and a unique blend of essential oils, including flax-seed oil.  It makes a delicate foam that really rinses clean, and leaves my skin smooth and soft.  And it’s been terminologically-tested to be gentle on the skin, as well.

How it arrived from Crowdtap!
Mrs. Meyer’s products are made with essential oils and are truly garden-inspired, and as I am BIG into gardening and love natural scents (who wouldn’t?!), for me this is a major plus!  They have a lot of great garden-inspired cleaning products, such as household cleaners, laundry products, and air fresheners, as well as body and hand care products, and now that I have experienced the lovely scent of the Honeysuckle Body Wash I want to try them all! Check out this list of the natural scents of their cleaning products : Basil, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Geranium, Sunflower, Rosemary, Bluebell, Radish Honeysuckle, Apple, Watermelon, Parsley, Rhubarb, Baby Blossom, Peony, and Lilac! Don’t these sound wonderful? They’re definitely not the “run of the mill” or chemicals scents you usually find in cleansers and cleaning products! Top of my list to try are Basil, Sunflower, Radish, Watermelon, and Parsley! Check out their webpage here for info on all their different scents: http://www.mrsmeyers.com/scent/
Mrs Meyer’s products are made with essential oils from flowers and herbs- which I love (I even have an essential oil diffuser on my desk next to my computer!), and so they not only smell nice, they really work hard, and are great cleaners! Other very good things are that Mrs. Meyer’s products are “earth-friendly”, not tested on animals, and their products don’t have chlorine bleach, ammonia, petroleum distillates, parabens, phosphates or phthalates. Yay!
Another thing I love about Mrs. Meyer’s, is Thelma Meyer herself! She is the inspiration behind the products: a down-to earth Iowa homemaker and a real, live person! I like her philosophy of being “perfectly imperfect”-  I guess because heaven knows I’m imperfect! LOL  As she says: cleaning is something that just has to get done, so if you can make cleaning more pleasant, why wouldn't you? My sentiments, exactly!
The Mrs. Meyer’s website is really neat, too, because it doesn’t just advertise their products; they have a great “DIY” page with a lot of nifty craft ideas:  http://www.mrsmeyers.com/do-it-yourself-projects/
I also follow their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mrsmeyerscleanday/  and Pinterest page, as both have lots of neat ideas, too: https://www.pinterest.com/mrsmeyersclean/
One of the great things Mrs. Meyer’s does is sponsor “green” projects, and this year they are sponsoring events on Plant Something Day, May 19. In Chicago, Illinois and Austin, Texas they will be planting and gardening with the American Community Gardening Association, and online they will be donating $5 for each MrsMeyers.com order between May 15th  and June 5th to the ACGA, up to $10,500- AND each order will also come with a little something to help you get your own garden growing- while supplies last, so hurry up and order! How cool is that?! We will Definitely be planting something on Plant Something Day at the Elkhorn Inn- probably our Sunflower Meadow, as well as herbs and veggies! Will you be taking part, too? Did Mrs. Meyer's inspire you to do something "green"? Tell me in the comments! http://www.mrsmeyers.com/our-story/garden-inspired-giving/

Hot pepper plants for the garden!
Our Sunflower Meadow across from the Elkhorn Inn

 

Friday, May 5, 2017

How to REALLY make Margarita Jello Shots for Cinco de Mayo!

Margarita Jello Shots in Limes

Chef Dan is going to make a special Mexican Dinner tonight from recipes we learned at Josefina's Cooking School in Cozumel (see my previous blog post here) for a fun Cinco de Mayo evening at the Elkhorn Inn, and so I decided I'd make Margarita Jello Shots! I looked up recipes and found one on Thrillist, that looked really cute as they're set in lime halves, but when I started to make it I realized Very quickly that there was something Very wrong... It was impossible. LOL Or rather: it was impossible for ME to do it the way the recipe instructed, without it turning into the Epic #CraftFail Pinterest Project From Hell. LOL And so, trusty iphone by my side, I decided to Reinvent The Margarita Jello Shot Wheel- and make it SO totally idiot-proof that even I could do it!
The first thing the recipe stated was that you had to cut 4 limes in half and "use a spoon to hollow out the limes". Try that and see what happens. LOL I managed to get the juice and some of the pulp out with a spoon, but limes are totally full of fiber that no spoon will remove... so I took a pair of kitchen scissors to the insides of the little fellows, and voila! 8 little lime cups in no time flat! 
The next thing the recipe said to do was to throw away the lime juice and pulp- and use 2 cups of "limeade" instead! When you have a little cup of real lime juice and pulp from the limes  you just cut and hollowed out??? I pressed the lime pulp through a little strainer, and added the juice to 2 cups of water, and then added sugar and more lime juice to taste to make a nice, tart Limeade.
This you put in a small pot, and top with 2 envelopes of gelatin. (That part of the recipe worked fine. LOL)
Gelatin and water over low heat...
You cook this over low heat while stirring, until the gelatin is dissolved- about 5 minutes. Then you take it off the stove, and, according to the recipe, stir in 3/4 cup of tequila and 1/4 cup of Cointreau. Cointreau is an orange liqueur, and as we had Blue Curacao from our recent trip to Curacao, and it is also basically an orange liqueur, and a pretty blue color to boot, I decided to use that! NOTE: Use inexpensive, clear tequila for this. IMHO there is no reason to use expensive anejo tequila for anything other than sipping neat! :-)
Lime cups and a cup of  Tequila and Blue Curacao
 








The recipe then says, blithely, "Pour mixture into lime rinds". They don't mention that as you do this, the little lime cups will fall over and spill your precious tequila gelatin mixture everywhere. You need to arrange your lime cups so they don't wiggle or tilt, which for me meant to hold them in place on a plate braced by a couple of porcelain ramekins- see photo. A lime cup holds only a little bit of the gelatin mixture, so what to do with the rest? Make Margarita Jello Cubes, that's what!
Margarita Jello Cubes...
This recipe (2 cups of limeade and a cup of Tequila-Curacao) made enough to fill 8 small lime halves and a tray full of cubes; if you need more, just double the recipe. Then you are to put them all in the refrigerator for "3 hours or overnight". Be Very careful transporting them to the fridge- you will probably have to refill them a bit once they are settled in the fridge... For faster fun, set them in the freezer...
The recipe says to cut the chilled lime halves in half again to make wedges, but our little limes were tiny, so I preferred to serve them as they were, after dipping the rims in Margarita Salt.
Margarita Jello Shots with a dish of dipping salt
I was extremely pleased with how they turned out- very tasty, and adorable, to boot! And using the Blue Curacao made them pretty!

The Margarita Jello Cubes came out Really pretty- like giant aquamarine gems- and they are yummy! They looked very nice in a salt-rimmed glass of clear tequila, too! :-)

What are YOU doing for Cinco de Mayo? Did you try to make these, too? What happened? Tell me in the comments!



Margarita Jello Cube in Tequila, in a salt-rimmed glass


Margarita Jello Shot Cubes!
Chef Dab's Cinco de Mayo Dinner
#Chef Dan's Cinco de Mayo Mexican Dinner (made using several recipes from our wonderful day in Cozumel, Mexico at Josefina's Cooking School in Cozumel (see my previous blog post here): A delicious Mayan dip of ground, roasted pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic (in the Mexican mortar); chicken marinated and baked in Achiote Sauce; nopales (cactus), sauteed with chopped onions; rice cooked in chicken stock, with tomatoes, garlic, cumin and other spices; an amazing, blistering hot green sauce we brought back from Costa Maya that has no name; tortillas; and my Margarita Jello Shots!