Monday, February 23, 2015

Crunchy Noodle Salad

I made this on Friday night and we really enjoyed it with some fresh Salmon. 
I think this is a keeper for our summer month dinners too!

The Barefoot Contessa -  Crunchy Noodle Salad
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound thin spaghetti
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds, divided
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions (with and green parts), sliced diagonally
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, add the sugar snap peas, return to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Lift the sugar snap peas from the water with a slotted spoon and immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Drain.
For the dressing, whisk together the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and peanut butter in a medium bowl.
Combine the spaghetti, sugar snap peas, peppers and scallions in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the spaghetti mixture. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and the parsley and toss together.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

BoiDiesel & Glycerin Hand Cleaner ?

While on vacation in The Florida Keys I had a conversation with Jeff Lillie of Marathon BioDiesel.  I met him through a string of chance conversations.  The woman that we rent a house from likes my soaps, and she was telling me about a friend of hers that makes a hand cleaner and foot scrub out of glycerin byproduct from his BioDiesel production facility.  She also is a customer of his, buying BioDiesel to run her truck.   I was very interested in stopping in to meet him.  So, Mr. Casco Bay Soap Co and I stopped by one afternoon and chatted with him for quite a while about BioDeeisel and his whole production process.  I learned that glycerin is created while purifying BioDiesel.  Biodiesel is a promising alternative and renewable, fuel.  As its production increases, so does production of the principle co-product, crude glycerol or glycerin.  For each gallon of BioDiesel about 1 gallon of glycerin is created.  The whole process is very interesting and very very involved but the basics are this.  Jeff collects used cooking oil from local restaurants in The Keys and converts it to fuel for cars, trucks and even boats.  Fish restaurants, donut shops, pizza parlors, Conch fritter food stands and more!  He is working with the local high school kids and they are learning much about running a business and all sorts of science facts.
A link to the website for more technical information:
Here are some pictures from around his Biodiesel yard:
His truck can easily recognized around The Keys!

Barrels of used oil(s) from restaurants....

the process of purifying...
examples in mason jars...
education is KEY!
Jeff filling up a vehicle at his filling station!
And the hand cleaner
Here is a link to the Website for the cleaners -  featuring a non-toxic, biodegradable hand cleaner and foot pumice
Their process as explained by them:

 The MPOD Trailer is a mobile processing plant. It is designed to be moved to various regional collection sites where the oil has been prepared for processing and will be finished.

Preparing the oil for processing involves cleaning the oil to remove impurities and drying the oil to remove moisture.

Finishing the fuel after processing involves drying the fuel again and finishing or polishing the fuel to further removes impurities.

Regional collection points serve as locations to take the oil collected from an area or town, prepare the oil for processing, finish the fuel after processing and store the fuel that is ready for sale and use. Visits from the processing trailer

MPOD are timed on a regular basis across several collection sites so that the  MPOD is always working. The MPOD can produce between 200 & 400 gallons of High Quality ASTM Certified B100 per an 8 hour shift, 24/7 - 365

Clean, professional looking collection containers are provided to restaurants at no charge. These containers are cleaned upon each visit so that area remains tidy and professional looking.

Participating restaurants are not paid for the waste vegetable. Instead they donate the waste oil and in return receive a “Green Hand Certificate” to display in their store that lets everyone know that they are handling the waste they generate is responsible way that benefits the their community. The businesses are also provided All Natural High Quality Liquid Hand Soap, All Natural Dirty Hand Cleaner and All Natural Foot Pumice.  The natural soap products are derived from the glycerin removed and processed in the making of the fuel.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

While Away...

Hi there!  I was away for a mid-winters break down to The Florida Keys.  While there, I did more than just fishing, frozen drinks, Cuban sandwiches and relaxing.   I had the opportunity to visit their local farmers market!    Full of loads of great local grown produce and flowers, they also had some soaps and candles, breads, teas, jams and prepared foods.  While this market was a bit different than the markets in Maine, it was great to see a community come together to support small businesses.  They were smart and placed the market on the edge of the very busy one-and-only road that runs up and down The Keys, taking advantage of those that were just driving by (tourist) but had it off to the side a bit so locals could find their way there as well.  I did have the feeling that a few vendors were not small business, but were trying to project that image.  I steered clear from a couple commercial looking booths and my husband did ask me if our market was as aggressive as these vendors were (to which I said NO). Many of these vendors were pretty assertive and pushed samples on us, handing us toothpicks with food on it, spoons full of jam or mini cups of tea, when we had yet to even read their booth sign.  Many were eager to upsell and convince us that we didn't want just one bag of this amazing tropical tea blend, but 2!  Or if we used this special soap with their special cream your skin would be soo much better off!  Our vendors don't really do that up here.  We are pretty passive and let the customer decide what they want.  I did chat with some of the vendors, asking them if THEY were the one that grew these berries or made this tea blend.  Yes, they were but often they came down from the Miami area to sell at this market (which is not a short trip). I did see a cheese vendor, but all the cheese had commercial plastic wrap and labels on them, some of which I did recognize as national brands.  Not many real local vendors at this market from The Keys themselves.   Surprisingly, I did not see a single vendor selling seafood or a slice of Key Lime Pie, but we could have missed them.  My husband was searching for their well advertised wood fired pizza but we couldn't find it.  They have a great Facebook page and are very enthusiastic about the market with about 40 vendors.  Check out the pictures below.  And here is the link to their Facebook page:

Bright colors from fresh produce...

Lychee fruit!

Loads of fresh berries....

beautiful warm weather flowers....

of course they had Plantains!

Jams, jellies and nut butters...
Prepared and ready to eat or take home, Paella!

Of course I checked out the soaps....

and soy candles too!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Give Away With Casco Bay Soap Co.& Miss Moonmaker

Enter to win a 2 bar/soap dish gift set from me (see below photo) AND Miss Moonmaker's Heart Shaped Bath Fizzes!  Perfect for gift giving to your Valentine or to keep for yourself!

Miss Moonmaker is another great Maine small business woman creating bath & body products centered around all-natural ingredients, essential oils, herbs, spices, flowers – good stuff inside.  She is most popular for her amazing Bath Bombs.  Find her on Facebook here
Miss Moonmaker

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Shop & Save!

It's Been A While....So Let Eat Pumpkin Cheesecake!

Sorry guys!  It's been a while.  Super busy with soap I guess that is good?  :)
Here is a link to a recipe I am making for tomorrows Thanksgiving.  Pumpkin Swirled Cheesecakes in MINI cupcake style.  Great for portion control! 
From over at OMG Chocolate Deserts (image too).  SOO good!  I used chocolate graham crackers as the crust instead of plain and have little chocolate stars I am going to top my little cheesecakes with (as soon as they cool).

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 (I made 16 slightly smaller ones)
For the crust:
  • 7 graham cracker sheets –crushed
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 5 Tablespoon unsalted butter- melted
For the cheesecake:
  • 16 oz. cream cheese- softened
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg white
For the pumpkin swirl:
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoon all purpose flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and line standard muffin pan with cupcake liners (if you are using paper liner I suggest you to double them).
  2. Crushed the graham cracker sheets into fine crumbs, stir in the cinnamon and sugar, then add melted butter and mix with the fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
  3. Place graham cracker crumb mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner (about 1 heaping Tablespoon in each cup) and press down the crumbs, set aside.
  4. To make the cheesecake filling in the bowl mix softened cream cheese until it’s smooth, then mix in powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until just combined. Add egg whites one at the time, but turn the mixer on low speed (DO NOT OVER BEAT IT), until completely incorporated.
  5. To make the pumpkin swirl: in a medium bowl mix together the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, allspice and flour, then add ⅔ cup of the cheesecake mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir with a spatula..
  6. Divide half the plain cheesecake batter evenly between the cups. Scoop about one tablespoon of the pumpkin mixture on top and cover with the remaining cheesecake batter (liners should be filled almost to the top)
  7. Using remaining pumpkin mixture make 3-4 dots on each of the cheesecakes and swirl with a toothpick .
  8. Bake for 30 minutes (rotating the pan half way through the baking time)
  9. Cool them completely and store in refrigerator.

Monday, August 11, 2014


CAKE.   I love it.  I don't eat it often, or often enough.  But making a large cake and having it around for 2 people just isn't in our daily diet plan.  So when I can, I volunteer to make the cake for ANY celebration.  This guarantees a few things.....I get a piece.  I get to choose they type of cake.  Well, not always.  I generally try to make something that I know the person being celebrated will enjoy.  I made 82 cupcakes for my mom's birthday/retirement party and they were all her favorites.  Lemon with Lemon Curd, Coconut, Red Velvet and a Chocolate Chip with Vanilla Frosting.  I know that at least 2 of those are my top favorites too.
Asked to make a celebration cake for my nephews birthday but having only 1 day to plan and I live out in the boonies, I had to make due with what I had in the house.  No time to go to the store and back and make the cake AND make my soap and then drive to where the party was.  Just no time.   I created a delicious Vanilla Bundt Cake with Jam.  I had a fresh jar of Mango Raspberry Jam in the cupboard that I had picked up from my friends at Smart Alex Jam located here in Maine.  I had some homemade Cream Cheese Frosting left over that instead of eating by the spoonful after my mom's party, I had the foresight and will power to put it in the freezer.  I simply warmed it up and drizzled it over the top of the Bundt cake.  A.Mazing.
Here is the inspiration recipe.  Be sure to stop over on the blog, From My Sweet Heart, for more gorgeous cake pictures and recipes!
(The recipe and pictures are property of From My Sweet Heart)
  • 2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 1/3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2/3 of a cup of whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • a heaping 2/3 of a cup of jam (I used 4 berry jam)
  • baking spray with flour
  • powdered sugar for dusting
With the rack in the center position, preheat your oven to 350°F.  Generously spray the inside of a 12 cup bundt pan with baking spray that contains flour.
Whisk together your dry ingredients :  flour, baking powder and salt.
Fit the paddle attachment onto your stand mixer and beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until it is light and fluffy.  Reduce the speed to low and add the yolks.  Continue to beat until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.  And then add the whole eggs, one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next.  You may have to scrape down the bowl again!
Keep the mixer on low and add half of the flour mixture.  Mix it just to combine and then add the milk.  Again, mix until just combined and then add the remaining flour.  And yes, you guessed it!  Mix until it is just combined.  Scrape down the bowl and then add the vanilla extract.   Now kick the speed up to medium and mix for about 30 seconds, until the batter is smooth. 
Scoop out about a cup and a half of the batter and smooth it evenly into the bottom of the pan.  With a teaspoon, make a little trench in the batter and spoon in the jam.  Then add the remaining batter.  Using a long toothpick or skewer, carefully give the batter a little swirl.  (You can certainly use a knife and swirl the jam throughout the batter.)  But a light swirl will create a pretty ruby crown.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


I am very excited to announce that my NEW Casco Bay Collection is now available in THE L.L.Bean Home Store in Freeport, ME!

Stop in and take a look, share pictures and of course, you are welcome to purchase a bar or two!  I am thrilled to see my soaps among other top quality items that L.L.Bean carries including their own. 
Thank you L.L.Bean for this opportunity!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Trunk Show On Board The Nova Star!

I had an amazing adventure and opportunity this past weekend.  I was invited onboard the NEW Nova Star Cruise between Portland Maine and Nova Scotia Canada to showcase and sell my soaps!

We were treated to VIP status, what a treat (I brought along my husband as my assistant)!  We boarded quickly with lots of hands to help carry our 4 big boxes and tubs of product and display items and of course, our luggage.  We set up tables and my soaps right away on Thursday night so we could grab some evening shoppers as soon as we left Portland. 
We were open for soap sales until 11:00 PM.

I brought along my Bar Soaps, Sea Shell & Sea Urchin Soaps and Felted Soaps all set up very quickly on 2 tables right next to a beautiful view out a ship porthole and near their on board          Duty Free Shop, The Novatique. 

The next morning, soaps were for sale right away and I did a slide show presentation for the passengers.   I showed them pictures of my soap studio and my product and explained how soaps is made as well as some of the fun projects my soap has been part of. After that, I had brought along some raffle prizes and we had a flurry of sales as folks really seemed to like my presentation!  I got a lot of questions and comments and met folks from all over the US and even some from near my home town!

During the quieter hours in the afternoon, my soap table was moved right inside the entrance to the Novatique shop! 
Here I am with the shop manager, Kevin.  He was warm and friendly and very professional.  Making ship announcements often throughout the cruise regarding my Friday morning special presentation, announcing my presence onboard, and to draw customers to the soap table and shop.
While onboard I did have some time to enjoy many of what the Nova Star all it had to offer.
Thursday evening, after the shop closed for the night, my husband and I headed to the Casino to try our luck and to get a cocktail to celebrate his birthday!  We went outside and peered into the inky black ocean looking for signs of land.  We saw a few dots of light far off in the distance and listened to the roar of the wake coming off the back of the ship.
On Frida at Currents, the onboard fine dining room, I attended a cooking demonstration featuring Chef Jason Lynch of Domaine de Grand Pré Winery’s Le Caveau Restaurant located in Nova Scotia Canada where he chopped, sautéed and whisked us through his recipe of Lobster and Scallop Chowder.   We got to sample a generous portion too!  Deliciously delicate and I am in love with plans to make this very, very soon in my home kitchen.

Later, a wine tasting in The Key's Lounge also by Chef Jason Lynch.  And who doesn't enjoy a 5:00 wine tasting while cruising along sparkly waters in Maine?  It attracted a good crowd.

We ate all our meals at The Fathoms Buffet  Breakfast, lunch and dinner all had many choices.  Whether you choose to eat light or a bit more substantial, it was all available.  My dinner of steamed fish and rice with vegetables the first night, to scrambled eggs, bacon and crab cakes in the morning and then lunch of salad made of cucumbers, olives, tomatoes and feta - all delicious!   This girl has a sweet tooth and loved the Key Lime Cheesecake desert I had at dinner as well at the Chocolate Walnut cookies from lunch.   The seas were a bit rocky, so servers were available to carry our trays to our tables.  I guess they have had their sea legs a bit longer!
An amazing sail both ways, a beautiful crossing!   Looking out at the sparkly sea we spotted several Mola Mola or Ocean Sunfish.  Adults grow up to an average of 1,000 pounds!  Something that we were super surprised (and lucky) to spot.  We mostly spotted these while near Nova Scotia.  Several pods of Porpoise jumping too.  
Here are some pretty Nova Scotia pictures:

Oh, and there is a time change!

On the return trip to Portland Maine we spotted this beautiful schooner out for a sunset sail, picture perfect!


Again, a big THANK YOU to Nova Star for the invitation and incredible opportunity to showcase my soaps and my business.  I had a wonderful time, the entire ships staff was incredibly accommodating and extremely friendly and I enjoyed the experience!  I hope to return again soon.  Thank you!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Maybe it's not really cookies "season" but I had a craving for some good homemade cookies and Mr. Casco Bay has been a super awesome husband and I wanted to thank him.....I didn't have any chocolate chips on hand, but did have some peanut butter M&M's in the chest freezer!  These came out great!
Thanks to Lovin' From The Oven for the great recipe!

My NEW favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

    1. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.
    3. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour. When it’s time, Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
    4. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
    5. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely