It's like butta

Author's note: homemade Christmas gift suggestion follows.

I adore the Colorado climate but this time of year the dry air leaves my whole family's skin cracked and scratchy. The problem with many store-bought lotions is they often contain a long list of highly suspect chemical compounds. You can buy better alternatives but many of those can be fairly costly. So I was interested in trying a homemade option when I stumbled on this recipe – http://www.rawmazing.com/homemade-body-butter-recipe – which prompted me to give it a go.

Turns out it was super easy. And the result was awesome on skin and so pure you could literally eat it.

While most of the ingredients are available at local natural food stores, I, after the first successful attempt, went whole hog and bought bulk quantities of the main ingredients online through Mountain Rose Herbs.

www.mountainroseherbs.com

I chose Mountain Rose because they share all the crunchy granola values I hold dear, including sustainability, fair trade and organic production.

Having produced several successful batches, I decided this year to whip up (literally) a big batch and give it away as Christmas gifts. Ball's 4-ounce quilted jelly jars make the perfect container and are available at Kroegers and probably other local stores. If I were crafty, I'd do attractive labels. But though I may occasionally maraud as Martha Stewart, I am in fact not (my stock portfolio, or lack there of, is evidence of that). My other favorite homemade Christmas gift is truffles. I'll hit you with that recipe (also surprisingly simple) in a couple days.

BODY BUTTER (photos are forthcoming)

Ingredients**

1 cup cocoa or shea butter

1/2 cup coconut oil (this was on sale at Durango Natural Foods last time I checked)

1/2 cup almond, olive or other liquid-at-room-temperature oil

Essential oil of your choice (I prefer lavender)

1. Melt butter and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler. Remove from heat and let cool in frig or freezer (or outside if it's cold), stirring occasionally (otherwise it hardens around the rim but is still very liquid in the center).

2. Stir in almond oil and essential oils of your choosing.

3. Whip until a butter-like consistency is achieved. If it is not whipping, chill it longer then try again.

4. Place in clean, glass jar and enjoy. A little goes a long way.

* Feel free to experiment with oils and add-ons but be sure and pick oils that are skin and/or child friendly.

** Don't sweat the quantities, just keep the ratio of solid (at room temperature) to liquid ingredients at around 3:1. Also, this last time I added in some bee's wax (about the same quantity as the liquid oil) during the first step and it came out great. If you don't have bees for wax, you can get it in bead form from Dancing Willow Herbs on Main Avenue.