De-Stress With Homemade Scented Play-Doh

Good folks of the Internet, the last month and a half have been ROUGH. I’m working as a therapist at a high school right now and my clients just seem more scared every day. See, the school where I work is full of brilliant Black and brown kids who aren’t sure what the government is going to do to them and their families. Between the (overturned and forthcoming) Muslim bans, rescission of protections for trans kids, and anti-Latinx sentiment going strong, we’re all more than a little worried.

Scented Play-Doh - MamootDIY.com

To help, I’ve got a Saturday afternoon project that’ll get your mind off the state of the country for half an hour and help you cope with it when real life comes back into focus. Because while we keep fighting, we’ve got to sustain ourselves with moments of joy and silliness. Making playdough is one tiny thing you can do today to give yourself a break from the darker stuff.

I use playdough in sessions with my clients all the time. The shy kid and I play together until they’re comfy enough to talk. The anxious kid gets a ball to take with them to squeeze in class when they get called on. The angry kid smashes playdough instead of plates when they can’t handle their dad’s yelling anymore. The kid who finally feels a little better asks for playdough to share with a friend who’s going through a rough time. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it helps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DpevnLCNYc

There are tons of ways to use your playdough therapeutically, but fidgeting, smashing, and observing are three of my favorite places to start.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Burn Some Beautiful Spoons (Then Spice Up Your Life)

Do you know someone who loves to cook or wants to learn? There’s no such thing as too many spoons. You can use a wood burner to transform cheap spoons into beautiful art things that might just be too pretty to use. That’s nothing a little inspiration can’t fix. Encourage them to use their new tools by making a spice mix or two. Whether you’re crafting for a seasoned cook or a novice, chances are they would enjoy a new flavor in their armory. We’ve got five spice mixtures that can be easily incorporated into a snack or a full-blown feast.

Inspiration

Inspiration

You will need:

  • A Woodburning Pen
  • Wood or bamboo spoons or other cooking utensils
  • An extra spoon – To practice on the same kind of wood you’ll be using
  1. Sketch out some ideas. Keep it simple; a woodburner can be kind of unwieldy. Don’t forget that you’ve got the whole spoon (including the tiny little tip at the end of the handle) to work with. You might want to stay away from the actual spoon if you’re worried about food being hard to wash out or you might not. It’s your call. Go for lines, animals, words, swirlies, or whatever you’re best at doodling.
  2. Practice your plans on the extra spoon.
  3. Take a deep breath, you’re ready for the main event. You can either draw on the spoon with a pencil to give yourself some guidance or dive right in.

Spice Mixtures

spice-jars

European and Latin American spices are typically easy to find in any grocery store. For spices that aren’t used as often in those cuisines, stay far away from places like Whole Foods – you’ll find them there, but they’ll cost you a fortune. Instead, head to a Middle Eastern (for sumac) or Indian (for turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, mango, black salt, and ajwain) grocery store. Indian store especially tend to sell large bags for much more affordable prices, which is great if you’re making a spice mix for more than one person. They’re also usually fresher because the typical customers at a cuisine-specific grocery are more likely to buy foods that would sit for ages at a generic grocery. Not to mention: you’re supporting a member of your community by shopping at a local store.

Adobo
6 T Salt
6 T Granulated Garlic
4 T Oregano
2 T Black Pepper
2 T Turmeric
2 T Onion Powder
Uses: Anything and everything

Chaat Masala
3 T cumin
1 T coriander seeds
1½ t fennel seeds
4 T mango/amchur powder
3 T black salt/kala namak
1½ t black pepper
1½ t ginger powder
1 t mint
1 t tumeric
1½ tsps ajwain/carom seeds
Toast and crush the mixture in a mortar and pestle/pilón or grind it up in a (well-cleaned) coffee grinder
Uses: Sev puri, add to fries, salads, and mangoes

Herbs de Provence
5 T dried thyme
3 T dried savory
2 T dried marjoram
5 T dried rosemary
1½ T dried lavender flowers
Uses: Add to omelettes, pizzas, popcorn, vegetables

Za’atar
2 T Thyme
1 T toasted sesame seeds
2 t ground sumac
½ t salt
Crush the mixture in a mortar and pestle/pilón or grind it up in a (well-cleaned) coffee grinder
Uses: Pita chips, add to olive oil for dipping bread, add to popcorn

Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 T ground cinnamon
4 t ground ginger
1 t ground cloves
1 t ground allspice
1 t ground mace
1 t ground nutmeg
Uses: Hot buttered rum, add to pancake batter, winter vegetables (anything orange), vanilla ice cream

Sweet Potato Falafel

Lunchtime: unequivocally the best part of the day. But could it be better? Yes sir, it can. You don’t have to spend gobs of money going out, but you also shouldn’t be packing the same peanut butter sandwich year in and year out; there is a middle way. The path to becoming a lunch box buddha isn’t so hard. All you need is a good balance of inspiration and improvisation.

Spanish food and I don’t really get along. To illustrate my point, I took a picture of the fruits and vegetables section of my grocery last time I went shopping.

IMG_3388-640x480

One of these things is not like the other

Spanish people are obsessed with pigs. There’s just no getting around it. Galicians in particular also seem to have a borderline-abnormal fixation on plastic bags. Because I am Captain Planet (and also just because I hate when I have a lot of groceries and my bag breaks on the walk home), I always bring my own bags. Unfortunately, the ladies who weigh your produce at the frutería don’t like it if you try to put your onions in your own bag because it’s “unhygienic” (this coming from a people who think it’s totally 100% no big deal to put a severed pig’s head in a pile of lettuce).

So anyway, lunch! This week I invited my German friend Julia over to make lunch with me because it’s Carnaval so all our friends were glamming it up in the Canary Islands and also because I like her a whole lot. Cooking lunch for the week is a whole lot easier when you have someone cooking with you. Not only does it mean half as much chopping, for this particular menu it means you get done faster because one person can roll the pita/falafel while the other cooks them.

Continue reading

Spinach and Goat Cheese Ravioli

Ravioli is a glorious food that is even more glorious when it comes from somewhere other than your freezer. Making it yourself means that you can fill it with anything (pumpkin? egg yolk? saag paneer? yes, yes, and triple yes) and then eat until comatose since every recipe I’ve ever come across makes no less than 40 motherloving pillows of ravioli. This recipe originally used arugula, but as ½ a pound of arugula costs nearly its weight in gold, I opted for spinach. If you’d like to try arugula, be my guest, but then please make me yours.

Continue reading

One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

Inspired by Carolyn’s three ingredient recipe for peanut butter cookies (Which, by the way, are delicious! Especially the day after.), I decided to finally give The Kitchn‘s much-touted 1 ingredient ice cream a shot. Can you guess what the ingredient is?
Continue reading

Avocado Pie

There are so many foods in life (Beer, milk, pancakes, eggs, mashed potatoes, ketchup) that shouldn’t be but are green on St. Patrick’s day. This pie is not one of those things. You’ve just got to trust me when I tell you that it’s not gross to put avocados in a dessert. In a blind taste test performed in my kitchen, every respondent said that it tasted “like key lime pie and avocados…but in a good way” which means that it wins all pies. If you’ve got 15 minutes and a blender, you can surprise all your drunk friends tonight with this festive dessert.
Continue reading

Oatmeal and Lavender Soap

………….  
5.5 oz coconut oil Coconut oil gives your soap moisture, big bubbles and a harder bar. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s or Costco, but it’s pretty trendy right now so you can find it just about anywhere.
8 oz olive oil Olive oil gives a dense creamy lather and a soft bar.
4 oz water Water is used to dissolve the lye. It will evaporate as the bar sets.
1.97 oz lye You already know what lye does, but you might not know where to buy it. Check the drain-unclogging chemicals sold at at Lowe’s or Home Depot. As long as it’s 100% sodium hydroxide, you’re good to go.
1/4 t honey Honey is a natural humectant and will keep your skin soft. It won’t dissolve into your soap, so don’t add too much or you’ll end up with honey bubbles and oozy soap.
5 drops lavender essential oil Lavender oil is calming and helps keep itching from dry skin at a minimum.
1 t shea butter Shea butter is incredibly moisturizing. If you don’t want to buy any, you can add a teaspoon of any oil or butter.
1 T oats Oatmeal soothes dry skin and scrubs off dead skin. Grind it up fine (I used my magic bullet because I’m fancy) so that it doesn’t clog your drain.