Thursday, October 1, 2015

Live Stream Lip Balm

Hey everyone!

If you're curious how I make my lip balm, check out the Live Video Tutorial that I'll be doing tonight at 7PM! You can download their app (in the App Store only) to watch :-)

If you miss it, or you're an Android user like me, you can usually also catch it on their blog: Boxtiq Blog. It won't be posted right at 7 (because we'll still be recording!) but it should be up within a few days.

Don't feel like you have to crazily take notes from the video, because I have all of the instructions written here: Lip Balm Tutorial


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Crispy Honey Garlic Chicken

I originally made this recipe for a Honey Cook-Off a few years ago. It's so delicious that I wanted to make a post specifically for it :-)

Total Time: 45 minutes (20 minutes prep, 25 minutes cooking)


Honey Garlic Sauce: 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Flour Coating Mixture: 
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper 
The Rest: 
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons cold water
  • 10 chicken legs
  • vegetable oil

1. Put about 2 inches of vegetable oil into a large flat frying pan. Turn the heat on to medium-low. Don't overheat the oil (I aim for about 340 degrees). If you're not using a cooking thermometer - I usually run my hand under water and shake a few drops into the frying pan at this point. When the water starts to sizzle, the oil is the right temperature. If the water just sits still, it's too cold, if the water causes the oil to pop and spatter everywhere, it's too hot. A splatter screen is very useful for this.

2. While the oil is heating up, mix together the 'coating mixture'; set aside. 

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the slightly beaten eggs and cold water. 

4. Wash and pat the chicken legs dry. 

5. When the oil is up to temperature, dip the legs into the egg wash and then toss into the flour mixture to evenly coat. Place as many legs as you can into the pan. Let the legs cook for 3-4 minutes or until that side starts to brown, then turn 1/4 turn. Turn and cook until all sides are browned. In total, you want to cook the chicken for about 15 minutes.

Gently place the chicken into the oil so it doesn't splash (the oil will start to bubble as soon as you add the chicken). I am impatient, so I batter my chicken and throw it into the oil immediately. You can end up with a blotchy fried coating if you do this. If you want a really well-coated fried chicken, let your flour-covered chicken rest for 10 minutes on a wire rack before placing it into the oil. This will allow the coating to stick to the chicken better:

Once you add the chicken to the oil, aim to keep the temperature between 300 and 325 degrees. If you're not using a thermometer, your chicken should be enthusiastically bubbling. If you hear loud pops, the oil is a bit too hot. When your oil is too hot, you risk having an over-done outside and an under cooked center. If the bubbling is calm or non-existent, your oil is too cold. When your oil is too cold, it may take longer for your chicken to cook, and you'll end up with a greasier end product. If you need to adjust your temperature, do so in small increments (don't blast the heat or turn it all the way down). Here is what your cooking chicken should look like:

As you might have noticed, I have added too much oil. The important thing is that I cook the chicken for about 15 minutes total, so I cooked the chicken for 8 minutes, then flipped it once and cooked it for another 8 minutes.

6. While you're cooking the chicken legs, you can prepare the sauce: In a medium sauce pan, cook over medium heat the olive oil and garlic to slightly soften; do not let it brown. Add the honey, soy sauce and black pepper. Continue to cook over medium heat and simmer sauce for 5-10 minutes, watching carefully as it simmers because it can foam up and overflow (REALLY! My sauce nearly overflows almost every time I make this, so don't turn your back for long). Remove from heat. You can also do this part in the microwave - but watch it carefully, you really only want to warm it up.

Your sauce will be the consistency of warm sryup when it is finished - less thick than honey, but thicker than water. I like to serve mine in a gravy boat for easy pouring (basically something with a spout, a measuring cup will do):

7. When the legs are done cooking, I like to place them on a paper towel on a wire rack for a few minutes. This wicks away a little bit of excess oil (just in case my oil was too cool at some point). The dry chicken should look like this:

8. To serve, place the chicken on a plate and then liberally pour the sauce over them. I suggest serving this with a salty vegetable. Enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Creamed Honey

I made another batch of creamed honey the other day, here are some pictures!

What is creamed honey? Creamed honey is honey that has crystallized with very small crystals. Usually when honey crystallizes you'll see large granules, which yields a crunchy texture. Creamed honey is very smooth, almost the consistency of room temperature butter. The crystals are so small that you can barely feel them on your tongue. Creamed honey is also opaque, unlike liquid honey. Here you can see the difference (the creamed honey is much more pale):

To make creamed honey, you start with a seed crystal (I used Trader Joe's Creamed Honey). The seed crystal is mixed with liquid honey and starts a chain reaction, causing the liquid honey to crystallize in the same way as the seed (rather than naturally which may yield large crystals).

There are more complicated ways to make creamed honey (such as the Dyce Method) which involves heating the honey to destroy any yeasts and already existing crystals. The more complicated methods are said to yield more consistent, higher quality results.

That being said, I like my simple method that allows me to use raw honey. Not heating the honey is not only easier, but it preserves the natural enzymes.

I typically make 10lb batches of creamed honey at a time, because that is what fits well in my mixer :-) You'll need:

  • 10% Creamed Honey (1lb) - this should be of a quality that you want in your liquid honey. I started with Trader Joe's Creamed honey, now I can use my own creamed honey!
  • 90% Liquid Honey (9lbs) - It works best if this honey is freshly harvested, and not cloudy. If your honey is cloudy, it may have already started crystallizing and those crystals will compete with the small creamed crystals that you want.
  • A kitchen mixer or I've seen people use mixer attachments for their drills (a clean one!)
  • Wide-mouth jars or tubs. This will be the final serving container for your honey, as it will solidify in the container as it crystallizes.
First pour all of your liquid honey into your mixer (or a 5-gallon bucket if you are going to mix by hand or with a drill attachment). I've got my creamed honey next to the mixer bowl filled with liquid honey. You can see that the creamed honey is solid enough to hold its shape if you take a spoonful out, you can also see how light in color the creamed honey is compared to the liquid honey. When the liquid honey crystallizes, it will lighten to that color too.

Add your creamed honey to your mixing bowl/bucket. You want to stay between 5% and 10% creamed honey. Less than 5% and you run the risk of larger crystals forming. It's not a big deal if you use over 10%, it's just unnecessary since 10% should be plenty of seed crystal.

Mix the liquid and creamed honey thoroughly. You don't want to whip air into the honey, so use the lowest speed. Make sure that the honey is completely mixed together so that the seed crystals are evenly distributed.

Now that the honey is completely blended, pour it into your containers. I use a 5 gallon bucket that has a spout so I can easily fill my jars. You can also just pour the honey out of the bowl, but you might want a helper to scrape/aim so your kitchen doesn't end up a sticky mess (which may be inevitable anyway). I also usually pour off about a pound into my original container to save 1lb of creamed honey for the seed for next time. Each time I make a new batch of creamed honey, it is more and more of my own honey and less of the Trader Joe's honey. The first generation is 10% Trader Joe's, the second generation is 1% Trader Joe's and so on. 

Here is what the freshly mixed creamed honey looks like next to set creamed honey. It will take about a week at 60 degrees for the newly mixed honey to fully crystallize. It may take longer at other temperatures, the faster the honey crystallizes, the more it will take on the characteristics of the seed crystal. I have a little wine fridge that I use for setting my creamed honey at 60 degrees. Left: Creamed Honey, Middle: Newly mixed Creamed Honey (90% Liquid, 10% Creamed), Right: Liquid Honey


Friday, June 26, 2015

In the news!

I guess I'm getting famous ;-) sort of. Check out these two bits of news I've been involved in:

Sam Sciolla wrote a great article for the Palo Alto Weekly after attending one of my honey harvesting classes: Honey on the Hands. It also appeared in the Mountain View Voice today with some fantastic pictures by Magali Gauthier.

I was also on KQED Forum: Obama Dedicates Land, Money to Honey Bee Restoration! You can listen to the program online now.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Coconut Vanilla Lip Balm with Beeswax and Honey

Here is the Coconut Vanilla Lip Balm recipe that I showed at Maker Faire!

This is a great base lip balm to get started with. The coconut and honey are moisturizers, and if you use unscented coconut oil, it is easy to add your own unique lip balm scent!


  • 1/2 Ounce Beeswax. Pearls will melt the fastest, but you can also use bricks.
  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil or any other Carrier Oil you wish.
  • 1 Teaspoon Honey
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Organic Vanilla Extract**
* Coconut oil can be substituted for most other oils: sunflower oil, olive oil, or almond oil. I like the coconut oil the best because the result is very moisturizing.

** Vanilla extract is a very fool-proof scent (along with the scented coconut oil). To use a different scent, use an unscented coconut oil and remove the vanilla extract. Instead, add 3-5 drops of essential oil. USE CAUTION WHEN ADDING ESSENTIAL OILS - please research the side effects of essential oils prior to adding them to your lip balm. Some essential oils may cause sun or skin sensitivity.


  • Saucepan for boiling water. I use a 8" saucepan.
  • Metal mixing bowl, preferably an older one that you don't care about or one from the dollar store. The bowl should be able to rest on the rim of the pot without touching the bottom.
  • Whisk, again preferably an older one that you don't care about or one from the dollar store.
  • 10 Lip Balm Tubes
  • 1 or 2 Pipettes - you can avoid using these if you use lip balm pots instead of tubes. It's tricky to pour lip balm into the tubes, the pipettes make it cleaner.

Storage & Shelf Life

This lip balm will last for over a year - or at least that is the longest that I've had one so far. Usually I use them much more quickly than that :)

Make it!

  1. Fill your pot with with about 1" of water. Heat it to just below a simmer, this is very low heat. The water should be producing steam. Place the bowl on top of the pot to create a double boiler. This will gently heat your ingredients. 
  2. Place the wax in the bowl and melt it completely before adding additional ingredients.
  3. Add the carrier oil. Since the oil is cool, it may solidify some of the wax temporarily. Whisk the mixture to dissolve the ingredients to a liquid again.
  4. Add the honey and remove the bowl from the heat. 
  5. Now is a good time to set up your lip balm tubes. Remove the caps and place 10 lip balm tubes upright near your bowl of melted ingredients. 
  6. Now go back to your bowl and mix. The liquid should slowly start to cool until it is creamy. Allowing the liquid to cool like this will help keep your honey in suspension. If the liquid becomes too hot, the honey will sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the bottom of your lip balm tubes. 
  7. Add your scent, in this case, the vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth.
  8. Put your bowl back onto the heat. Whisk until the liquid just barely becomes a liquid again. You want to heat the lip balm as little as possible at this point because excess heat will cause your scent to degrade.
  9. Use the pipette to transfer the lip balm into the tubes. If the liquid is too cool, it will solidify in the pipette as you try to transfer it to the tubes. This is why it is good to have a backup pipette, just in case. Fill the tubes right up to the top. It's ok if they bulge a little, the wax will shrink slightly as it cools and the surface will sink down.
  10. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before capping, and cool for at least an hour before use. 
  11. Now you can add on labels and enjoy :) You can find many printable labels on Amazon. I personally like the Clear Gloss Inkjet Lip Balm Labels from Online Labels the best - that way you can see how pretty the color of the beeswax is instead of covering it all up!

This is the lip balm recipe that I use for my Coconut Vanilla flavor. Check out some of my other lip balms in my new online store!

Honey Oatmeal Face Mask

Here is the Honey Oatmeal Face Mask recipe that I showed at Maker Faire!

This mask is an excellent cleanser for sensitive skin. Honey, yogurt and orange juice all have properties that will help clear skin discoloration. Oatmeal is a gentle cleanser while the citric acid in the orange juice will help tighten pores. The lactic acid found in yogurt is also a common ingredient of many facial peels, it will help remove dead skin cells to leave your face looking more radiant. Honey contributes as a moisturizer, brightener, and cleanser.


  • 1/4 Cup Instant Oatmeal
  • 2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Yogurt
Storage & Shelf Life

I like to use this mask immediately, but it will last refrigerated for up to a week. It can also be nice to use it cold out of the fridge, it's very refreshing!

Make it!

  1.  I like to use instant oatmeal for this recipe because it will hydrate more quickly. Run the oatmeal through a blender for 10-15 seconds to ensure that your mask has a smooth consistency. The oatmeal will look like more of a powder now, but it will still have a little bit of texture. Below, you can see the difference between the unprocessed oatmeal (Left) and the blended oatmeal (Right).
  2. Now that the oatmeal is blended into a powder, this one is another easy one! Just put all of the ingredients into a bowl and stir it up until it is a consistent color and texture.
  3. Wait 5 to 10 minutes for the oatmeal to fully hydrate. The texture you are looking for is a smooth wet paste. The mask is too thick if you cannot spread it smoothly on your skin and it clumps together. The mask is too thin if it drips right off - it should be able to stick to your skin without sliding off.
  4. To use, apply the entire mixture to your skin, avoiding the eyes, nostrils and mouth. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes then rinse with warm water.

Learn More

There are plenty of articles online about the health benefits of the ingredients. Here are just a few that go into more depth than I do in my post:
  • Learn more about the benefits of Honey.
  • Learn more about the benefits of Oatmeal.
  • Learn more about the benefits of Yogurt.

Honey Sugar Scrub

Here is the Honey Sugar Scrub recipe that I'll be showing at 4:30PM today at Maker Faire!

This scrub is a great exfoliator and  mosturizer. The three ingredients in this scrub (brown sugar, coconut oil, and honey) all have mosturizing properties. Brown sugar is a fantastic exfoliator for sensitive skin because it has smaller particles than salts and other sugars.


  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
Storage & Shelf Life

This scrub should last un-refrigerated for at least 6 months. Coconut oil becomes a liquid instead of a solid above 76 degrees Fahrenheit, so it may separate from the brown sugar and honey. No problem! Just stir it back up!

Make it!

  1.  This one is an easy one! Just put all of the ingredients into a bowl and stir it up until it is a consistent color and texture.
  2. To use, just take a small scoop and rub it onto your skin. Rinse off the excess with warm water. I like to use it on my feet and legs - but it is gentle enough to use even on your face.

Learn More

There are plenty of articles online about the health benefits of the ingredients. Here are just a few that go into more depth than I do in my post: