Recipes from the Books

From Lye In Wait:

Oatmeal Milk Bath Salts
Easy Lip Balm
Stop 'Em in Their Tracks Lotion Bars

From Heaven Preserve Us:

Winding Road Saltea Bags
Air Fresheners a la Seth
Meghan's Wine Jelly
Sophie Mae's Favorite Watermelon Pickles

From Something Borrowed, Something Bleu:

30-Minute Mozzarella
Whole-Milk Ricotta
Queso Blanco


Oatmeal Milk Bath Salts

  • 1 cup powdered goat's milk
  • 1 cup colloidal oatmeal 1 ½ cup Epsom salts
  • Scant ¼ cup dendretic salt
  • ½ teaspoon liquid glycerin
  • ½ teaspoon essential oil (lavender, orange, balsam peru, sandalwood, fir needle, or rosewood)  
In bowl large enough to provide plenty of stirring room, combine Epsom salts and dendretic salt. Stir together with a metal whisk. Dribble glycerin and essential oil over salts. Stir well with whisk. Add oatmeal and goat’s milk and stir with whisk. This makes enough for at least three baths.   Dendretic salt helps avoid clumping and distributes the fragrance more thoroughly in the mix. The liquid glycerin does the same thing. Colloidal oatmeal suspends in the bathwater, and most powdered goat’s milk is full fat, which makes it very softening. For immediate use you can also make this without the dendretic salt and glycerin, and substitute nonfat dry milk and baby oatmeal cereal for the goat’s milk and colloidal oatmeal. The result will be a little different, and you will have to rinse a little oatmeal fiber out of the bottom of the tub when you’re done, but it’s a wonderful, soothing soak!  

Easy Lip Balm

  • 1 oz. beeswax
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon essential oil -- pepperming, spearmint, or lemon
Melt wax and oil together over very low heat. Stir in essential oil and pour into small tins, lip balm tubes, or any other suitable, lidded containers. Allow to cool.
This recipe will fill about 25 – .15 oz. lip balm tubes.

Stop ‘Em in Their Tracks Lotion Bars

  • 3 oz. beeswax
  • 3 oz. coconut oil
  • 3 oz. cocoa butter

Heat wax, oil and butter together over very low heat. Pour into 6 - 2 oz. molds. Allow to harden and remove from molds. Given the 1:1:1 ratio of ingredients, it’s very easy to increase or decrease this recipe.
Using non-deodorized cocoa butter gives the lotion bars a yummy chocolate scent, but if you can’t find it you can add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of an essential oil or oil blend of your choice.
In addition to soothing “garden hands”, try rubbing a lotion bar on rough feet and putting on cotton socks before going to bed.

Winding Road Saltea Bags

These have it all! Like other bath tea bags this recipe includes dried herbs long used to benefit the skin. However, you’ll also find Epsom and sea salts, essential oils to sooth your skin and your mood, and a slight fizzing action that disperses a light, softening bath oil.
Makes four teapot-sized bags:
  • 1/8 cup dried green tea (gunpowder green if available)
  • 1/4 cup dried calendula
  • 1/4 cup dried chamomile (loose leaf chamomile tea is fine)
  • 1/4 cup dried lavender flowers OR dried spearmint OR dried rosemary OR dried lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon of one of the following essential oils to match the dried herb above: lavender, spearmint, rosemary or ¼ each of lemon and orange
  • 1/8 cup baking soda
  • 1/16 cup citric acid
  • 2/3 cup Epsom salts
  • 2/3 cup sea salt
  • 2 full teaspoons light oil such as hazelnut, jojoba, almond or wheat germ

Combine all dry ingredients thoroughly. Combine oils separately, then drizzle over the top of herbal/salt mixture. Mix thoroughly. Divide into four large (tea pot sized), heat sealable tea bags (available online, or in specialty bulk tea shops). Wrap in cellophane or package in a glass jar to preserve scent.
Toss one bag in the bath. First it will puff out and fizz, dispersing the oils (don’t squeeze!), then it will float in the water. The longer you leave it, the more the herbs will steep, tinting and softening the water.

Air Fresheners a la Seth

The essential oils in these keep them fresh for a long time, but you can also add a drop of vitamin E oil to each one as an added preservative. Just as with commercial gel air fresheners, the scent is released as the gel dries. Each one contains a lot of essential oil, so they are quite fragrant.
Makes four fresheners (4 oz. each):
  • 1 packet of Knox unflavored gelatin
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • Coloring (food coloring is fine, or you can skip the color altogether)
  • 4 teaspoons essential oil or essential oil blend

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in cold water, coloring and essential oil. Pour into 4 oz. glass or plastic containers with lids – avoid using tins, as the oils may corrode the metal. Once the liquid is no longer steaming, five minutes or so, cap the containers and allow to cool at room temperature. When ready to use, uncap and enjoy!
Some nice scents for these are lavender, cinnamon with clove, rosemary with peppermint, or fir needle.

Meghan’s Wine Jelly

Makes four ½ pint jars:
This jelly can be made anytime, and provides a special accompaniment to meat. Earthy red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz are particularly good with lamb or beef; a sweet Chablis or dry Chardonnay is nice with chicken. Add a little Sherry to the mix for an interesting twist.
  • 2 cups wine
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2-3 oz. foil pouches liquid fruit pectin (Certo is one brand)

Mix wine and sugar in the top of a double boiler placed over boiling water. Stir four to five minutes, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and immediately stir in pectin. Mix well. Skim off any foam. Pour hot jelly into heated ½ pint canning jars, leaving 1/8 inch of space. Apply jar lid and ring, twisting tightly.
Process jars for ten minutes in a hot water bath (190 F). Remove jars from boiling water and allow to cool at room temperature.

Sophie Mae’s Favorite Watermelon Rind Pickles

These are sweet and sour and utterly delicious. They make a great addition to a holiday relish plate, and are yummy with cold roast beef…or eaten out of the jar by the light of the refrigerator at midnight. You might have to hunt for watermelon with a thick rind; so many recent hybrids have eliminated the light green or white interior rind as well as the seeds. Any heirloom variety should work. If you can’t find a watermelon with a thick rind, keep a little of the red flesh on when you trim the pieces. They won’t be quite as crisp, but the lovely color will make up for it.
Makes four pints:
  • 8 cups watermelon rind cut into 1-inch cubes, dark green skin removed
  • ½ cup pickling salt
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 5 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
Combine salt with cold water and stir to dissolve. Pour this brine over the watermelon rind, adding more water if needed in order to cover. Weigh down with a plate to completely immerse the rind. Allow to stand for 6 hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Drain again. Combine vinegar, sugar and water. Tie the cloves in a cloth bag and add them to the vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil; simmer for ten minutes. Pour vinegar mixture over watermelon rind and let stand overnight (it’s a good idea to use a plate to weight the rind down again.)
The next day bring all to a boil; check consistency of rind. If still hard and crunchy, cook until rind is translucent, five to ten minutes. This may not be necessary, depending on the thickness and kind of watermelon rind. Be careful not to overcook or your pickles will be mushy. Take out the bag of cloves, and pack the watermelon rind into hot, sterilized pint jars. Add enough hot syrup to leave ½ inch of room at top of jar. Apply jar lids and rings, twisting firmly. Process jars in a boiling water bath (185 F) for 10 minutes. Remove jars from water and allow to cool at room temperature. When cool, check to make sure jars have sealed properly.  

From Something Borrowed, Something Bleu

The following cheese recipes are from the Cheese Queen herself, Ricki Carroll. They are posted here with her permission. For supplies please visit The New England Cheese Making Supply Company.
When making cheese of any kind, be sure not to use ultra-pasteurized milk because it has been heated to the point where curds will not form properly. Pasteurized is fine, and you can use raw milk as well, though the results might be a little different.

 30-Minute Mozzarella

  • 1 1/2 level teaspoons citric acid dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
  • 1 gallon pasteurized whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon lipase powder, dissolved in 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water and allowed to sit for 20 minutes (for flavor, optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet or 1/4 rennet tablet, diluted in 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water
  • 1 teaspoon cheese salt (optional)

  1. Heat the milk to 55 degrees F. While stirring, add the citric acid solution to the milk and mix thoroughly. If you’re using lipase, add it now.
  2. Heat the milk to 88 degrees F over medium low heat (the milk will start to curdle).
  3. Gently mix in the diluted rennet, stirring with an up-and-down motion. Continue heating until the temperature reaches 100-105 degrees F.
  4. Turn off the heat. The curds should be pulling away from the sides of the pot. They are ready to scoop out. The curds should look like thick yogurt and have a bit of a shine. If the whey is still milky white instead of clear, wait a few more minutes.
  5. Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and place them in a 2-quart microwaveable bowl. Press the curds gently with your hands, pouring off as much whey as possible. Reserve the whey.
  6. Microwave the curds on high for 1 minute. Put on a pair of rubber gloves and drain off all excess whey. Gently fold the cheese over and over (as if you were kneading bread) with your hand or a spoon. This distributes the heat evenly throughout the cheese, which will not stretch until it is too hot to touch.
  7. Microwave two times for 35 seconds each. After each heating, knead again and drain excess whey. Add the salt to taste (if using) after the second microwave.
  8. Knead quickly, until smooth. When the cheese becomes elastic, start to pull and stretch it (as you would taffy). If it breaks, the curds need to be reheated.
  9. When the cheese is smooth and shiny, roll it into a log or small balls and eat while still warm. Or, place them in a bowl of ice water for about half an hour to produce a consistently smooth texture. If you must wait, cover it and store it in the refrigerator.
Yield: 3/4 – 1 pound.
Tips: For a firmer cheese, use more rennet. If your cheese is too hard, use less rennet. If you add lipase you may have to use a bit more rennet, as lipase makes the cheese softer.
Cricket Note: The whey can be used in place of milk or water when baking bread, added to sauerkraut and other fermented vegetable recipes to prevent bad bacterial growth, or added to soups and stews to increase protein content (don’t add to uncooked beans, though). It can also be heated to around 200 degrees F and drained through cheese cloth or butter muslin for ricotta. However, the ricotta yield is much higher using the following recipe.

 Whole-Milk Ricotta

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
  • 1 teaspoon cheese salt (optional)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
  1. Combine the milk, citric acid solution, and salt (if using) in a large pot and mix thoroughly.
  2. Directly heat the milk to 185-195 degrees F. Do not boil. Stir often to prevent scorching.
  3. As soon as the curds and whey begin to separate (make sure there is no milky whey), turn off the heat. Allow to set, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.
  4. Line a colander with butter muslin. Carefully ladle the curds into the colander. Tie the corners of the muslin into a know and hang the bag to drain for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese has reached the desired consistency.
  5. For a creamier consistency, add the cream and mix thoroughly. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.
Yield: 1 1/2 – 2 pounds
Cricket Note: I’ve found that using a jelly bag placed over a bowl is a good way to drain this and other fresh cheeses.

 Queso Blanco (also known as Queso Fresco)

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider is good)
  1. In a large pot, directly heat the milk to between 185-190 degrees F, stirring often to prevent scorching.
  2. Slowly add the vinegar, a little at a time, until the curds separate from the whey. You may increase the temperature to 200 degrees F in order to use less vinegar and to avoid an acidic or sour taste in your cheese. Do not boil, however, as boiling will impart a “cooked” flavor.
  3. Ladle the curds into a colander lined with butter muslin. Tie the corners of the muslin into a knot and hang the bag to drain for several hours, or until the cheese has reached the desired consistency.
  4. Remove the cheese from the muslin. Store in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Yield: 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
Cricket Note: This cheese does not melt when heated. If you drain it long enough, or put it, still in the muslin, into a colander and press it with a plate and a couple of heavy cans, you can slice it and then use it as paneer in Indian recipes, or in place of tofu.


  1. Hi! New fan here. I just read through the first four books in less than a week. I love Sophie Mae!! It seems as though it's been a really long time since you have updated your blog and web page. Will you post more recipes here? I'd also love the body butter recipe that Sophie made for her mom in Something Borrowed. Thanks Cricket (great name by the way)!

  2. Please post the recipe for the Oatmeal, goat's milk & neem powder facial from "Heaven Preserve Us". It sounds wonderful and I want to try making it!

  3. Hi! I agree with Kimberly, I'd love to have the body butter recipe and anything else you wish to share! Thank you! Love your books =]

  4. I found the 3rd book in the series at the library and quickly fell in love with Sophie Mae. I love how she is not bumbling around happening on clues, but is a regular person doing her best! I also love her relationship with Barr and how they are straight with each other. I have now almost read all of them and was SO happy to find these recipes on the web!
    Thank you Cricket