Idaho Inspired Soaps

Idaho holds a very special place in my heart. It is home for me, since I have lived here for nearly my entire life. It is the landscape, places, and people that I care for and about. It is where I plan to spend the rest of life.

The Lost River Range, just outside of Mackay.
The Lost River Range, just outside of Mackay, Idaho.

I have always admired the raw extremes that make up the landscape of Idaho. This state is known for its mountains, but there are numerous mountain ranges that look drastically different from one another. From the low, Ponderosa clad mountains of the North Idaho Panhandle to the snow-capped, tree-less peaks of the Sawtooths to the vast, volcanic Lost River Range, no two mountain ranges in Idaho look the same.

The Lost River Range, located just outside of Mackay, Idaho. These mountains are some of the most visually appealing I've ever seen. They also feature Mount Borah, the highest peak in Idaho and one of the highest in the U.S.
The Lost River Range, located just outside of Mackay, Idaho. These mountains are some of the most visually appealing I’ve ever seen. They also feature Mount Borah, the highest peak in Idaho and one of the highest in the U.S.

Mountains are not the only picturesque features of the landscape of Idaho. The state is dotted with glacial lakes (like Lake Coeur d’Alene) to massive river canyons (Hell’s Canyon). Some of the clearest fresh water creeks and rivers, prime fishing sites and some of the most beautiful sights to me, can be found all over the state. Lowland meadows, high mountain deserts, scrub land so hostile you’d think you were in another country (or, if at Craters of the Moon, another planet), this state is filled with a myriad of diverse, unique, and, overall, beautiful physical attributes.

The Clearwater River is a prime example of the crystal-clear creeks and rivers that flow all over Idaho.
The Clearwater River is a prime example of the crystal-clear creeks and rivers that flow all over Idaho.

The natural beauty of the state has always and will always inspire me. An inspiration which has lead to several Idaho-themed soaps (though I expect there will be more).

A snow-fed lake in the Sawtooth Range in Idaho.
A snow-fed lake in the Sawtooth Range in Idaho.

Our 2GOATsoap Lost Creek Bar is based off the infamous “disappearing” creeks that can be found in central Idaho. The Big Lost River and Little Lost River are two of the ones I am familiar with, having lived in central Idaho for many years. These rivers, like other creeks in the region, are snow-fed and flow from the mountains into the valleys before suddenly disappearing into the ground. While the rivers appear vanish – a real head-scratcher about a 100 years ago or so – in reality they simply go underground, feeding the vast Snake River Plane Aquifer that supplies southern Idaho with water. Our Lost Creek Bar is based off those vanishing rivers and creeks, with a crisp green above and lush violet below. A blackberry sage fragrance, which is very true to its name, gives these bars of soaps a fantastic crisp berry fragrance.

Our Lost Creek Bar has a crisp berry scent, as well as eye-catching colors.
Our Lost Creek Bar has a crisp berry scent, as well as eye-catching colors.

Our 2GOATsoap Garden Valley Bar was inspired by the sun-kissed evergreen mountains surrounding Garden Valley. This valley is located in the eastern-central region of Idaho. Sun-drenched mountains and valleys mingle with the turbulent south fork of the Payette River. Inspired by the sight of this valley, I created a bar of soap that features layers of green, interspersed by gold mica, reflecting the evergreen landscape of this mountain valley. The Sunny Herb Garden fragrance of these bars, which smells exactly like fresh cut herbs, is absolute perfection. Savory notes of sage, thyme, rosemary, and basil mingle with an undertone of lavender to create an utterly unique scent. A scent that, if you close your eyes, will have you imagining those sun-drenched mountains.

Our Garden Valley Bar is absolute perfection, bringing alive all five senses as you use it.
Our Garden Valley Bar is absolute perfection, bringing alive all five senses as you use it.

Our 2GOATsoap Sawtooth Bar is inspired by the mountain range of the same name. If you have never seen the Sawtooths – or at least pictures of them – you should, since they are an absolute sight to behold. There are over 400 lakes located in the range and an estimated 202 perennial snow fields – making these mountains cool even in the summer! The craggy, snow-capped peaks inspired this bar, which is fragranced by the Warm Flannel fragrance. The Warm Flannel fragrance is one of my absolute favorite fragrances. It is a luscious, warm vanilla scent that has citrus notes and is tempered by sandalwood, patchouli, and amber. It is slightly musky, but an absolute must of you are looking for a new vanilla fragrance – one that will probably become your favorite!

The snow-clad peaks of the Sawtooth mountain range inspired these "peaky" bars of soap.
The snow-clad peaks of the Sawtooth mountain range inspired these “peaky” bars of soap.

Give these new bars of soap a look in our shop on Etsy. Also, don’t forget to take advantage of our offer of free shipping. Its good through October 10th on all orders over $6.00.

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Best Margherita Pizza

If you’re like me, then you LOVE (yes, L-O-V-E) pizza. I like to say its thanks to my Italian heritage – but, who am I kidding. Pizza is just an awesome and often quick meal idea.

Margherita pizza is one of my favorite, dressed down pizzas. Absolutely simple to do and utterly delicious to eat! Not only is there the perfection of the crispy, handmade crust used in this recipe, but decadent mozzarella cheese, garden-fresh tomatoes, and aromatic basil. Utter perfection, at least in my book.

Best Margherita Pizza: To make this pizza, you will need…

  • 1 Tsp sugar
  • 1 Cup warm water
  • 1 envelope yeast
  • 3 1/4 Cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 12 oz mozzerella (you can use shredded, but fresh motz or buffalo motz or sliced/unsliced ball motz. Whatever you prefer!)
  • 8 oz feta, crumbled
  • 2-4 tomatoes, depending on the size of the tomatoes and the size of your pizza (I suggest using big tomatoes. Garden-picked ones are the best. If you don’t have a garden, then check out your local farmer’s market for kinds like Big Boy or try out some heritage tomatoes for a bit of excitement – these can come in yellow or pink, as well as red)
  • 1 onion, sweet yellow (Walla Walla)
  • Fresh Basil
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • Olive Oil

The first step is to make your crust. I absolutely love this recipe for pizza dough; it tastes great and you don’t need to let it rise for hours. I typically whip this dough together 2-3 hours before I plan on making the pizza. If you have leftover dough, it can be stored in the fridge for several more days and used for more pizzas or calzones.

To make the dough, add a 1/4 cup of the warm water to a mixing bowl and add the sugar. Stir it to dissolve, then add the yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes.

Once the five minutes are up, add the flour, salt, oil, and remaining water to the yeast mixture and mix well with the bread hook attachment. After everything has come together and is looking relatively dough-like, turn it out onto a lightly floured board or mat and knead until the dough is smooth and satiny. Depending on what the weather is like, I’ll sometimes add a bit more flour and knead it into the dough at this point, especially if the dough seems sticky.

Oil a bowl – I reuse the mixing bowl – with olive oil and put the dough ball in it, turning to coat the dough with oil. Take 1-2 paper towels and moisten them with warm water and drape them over the top of the bowl. Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free location. Oven often have proofing settings, that can work, or even just placing the dough in the oven with the door ajar is enough, since the light bulb in the oven gives off heat. If its really warm, placing the dough on the counter will work.

Let the dough rise for a couple of hours. Be sure to check it and punch it down a couple times (hint: opportunity to work out any anger issues…)

I test the dough and know it is ready to be used when I can form it into a rough crust shape and the dough does not retract a lot. At this point, select a handful dough and work it into a crust. I hand-stretch it and then roll it a bit with a pin. The crust should not be thin, maybe a 1/4″ in thickness or slightly under that is perfect.

Toss a bit of olive oil on the crust and spread it to the edges. Then, spread your cheese on the top. Be sure, whether using cut motz rounds or shredded motz, to leave a bit of space between the cheese and the edge of the crust for a hand-hold.

Shred the basil leaves and toss them on top of the cheese. At this point, I’ll put a few cranks of our salt and pepper shakers over the top of the pizza. Top the cheese and basil with the sliced tomatoes. I try to go edge-to-edge on the cheese with tomatoes. Try to keep the tomatoes sliced as thinly as possible too, since they are easier to eat this way.

Top off the tomatoes with onions. I use sweet yellow onions and cut them into rounds. To do this, peel the onion, then simply slice from the bottom, where the roots would have been, to the top. Take the rings, pop them apart, and scatter them over the pizza. Toss the crumbled feta over this and, voila, your pizza is complete.

Bake the pizza at 450 F for 15 minutes. You want the crust golden and the cheese bubbly. Some of the feta should have a slight browning on them, as well.

So, that’s the recipe. Simple, right? Give it a try. I’ve also used the crust recipe to make supreme pizzas and calzones (which are also great).

There’s No Place Like Home

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “There’s No Place Like Home.”

They say you can be too young to fall in love. As Lee Brice sums up,

They called them crazy when they started out
Said seventeen’s too young to know what loves about
They’ve been together fifty-eight years now
That’s crazy

Maybe you can be too young to fall in love. All I know is that I fell in love long before seventeen. Love is such a multi-faceted word. It can be romantic, it can be personable. It can be a descriptor. It is emotion – raw and unbridled or delicate and petty. It can refer to almost anything. I love this coffee! I loved that book! I love you!
It can also refer to places, to a sense of belonging. I know this, because I fell in love when I ten.
It was not with a boy, but rather with a place. The one spot in the world that will always be home for me. No matter how far I travel, how long I am gone from it, it is HOME.
challis
Nearly ten years passed before I was able to return to it. At the time, I had been unable to name that emotion clawing at my chest. The one that would make me stare down an open highway and think what if I just kept driving? It took those years and distance to be able to name that emotion – and to realize what that place meant to me.
It was home. And I suspect it will always be home, even if I am not living there. Returning to it is like picking up right where you left off in a good book – you never miss a beat and voraciously plunge yourself back into the story. With each journey back, this place captures another piece of my heart, staking its claim on me.
They say you can be too young to fall in love. But that is what I did and I regret nothing.
challis2

Handcrafted Ceramic Soap Dishes

Milk soaps have a tendency to be softer than traditional soaps, in part due to the higher levels of fats found int the oils and milk used to make soap. Handcrafted soaps also do not contain the preservatives that are in found in most store-bought soaps. This means that every bar of milk soap, like our goat milk soap, needs a little extra love when not in use.

Storing your slice of handcrafted soap on a rack will keep it out of the water and help the bar dry out when not in use. Not everyone has a wire rack by their sink, though, and since we highly encourage our soaps to be used everywhere, we have developed stunning ceramic soap dishes to port our soaps.

All the dishes are made by hand and are glazed with food-safe glazes. Every dish has a unique pattern and color – trust us, you won’t find another exactly like it! We only have a limited stock of dishes on hand, so if you are looking to accessorize your sink-side, don’t miss out on these lovely soap dishes.

P.S. These dishes also make awesome gifts. So if you know someone who loves handmade items, its never too early to start shopping. Even for Christmas…

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Check out these dishes and more in our shop on Etsy!

Warming Autumn Soup

I will admit, I found this recipe on the back of a candle I bought at the grocery store… But, before you judge, it made a very excellent pot of soup!

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Warming Autumn Soup: To make this soup, you need:

  • 1/2 pumpkin, cubed (I used a whole, small Cinderella Pumpkin and simply doubled the recipe)
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 potato, chopped (I used 2 medium red potatoes, though Russets or Yukon Gold might work better)
  • 4 cloves garlic, mashed (To do this, simply place the peeled garlic on a cutting board, put the flat side of a vegetable knife on the garlic, and smash your fist down onto the clove. It will break it up nicely and you can throw the splattered garlic straight into the pot.)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 2 TBS coriander (Fresh or Dried. I used the dried and it worked perfectly).
  • 4.2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used chicken, since it makes a heartier soup)
  • Cayenne, to taste (I added this to give the soup a bit more of a bite since I like spicy food).
  • Caraway Seeds, to taste.
  • 1 cup whole milk, optional
  • 1 cup heavy cream (or 1/2 and 1/2), optional

*Other spices that might work well in this soup: allspice, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon. I have not tried it with those, but I think small amounts could work wonders with the flavor.

To make this excellent soup, heat the olive oil in a stock pot until hot. Add the veggies and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking. You want to cook the vegetables until they are crisp-tender. Then, add the stock and bring it to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes – I went until the vegetables were very tender.

Then – and this is the fun part – use a food processor or blender to puree the soup until mostly smooth. I left the soup a bit coarser than what the recipe suggested, but I think it gives a better mouth feel to have the texture of the vegetables in there. Put the blended soup back into the pot and start seasoning!

I started out with salt and pepper, then added in the caraway seeds and cayenne for more depth of flavor. Because this is a mostly vegetable soup, I wanted to make it a bit heartier, so I added about 1 cup whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream (you could also use 1/2 and 1/2). Once the soup is warmed through, I tossed a handful of chopped parsley on top. This added some more color to the soup and tasted great with it.

Side Dish: Since this soup is fairly light, I made a batch of sweet corn muffins to go along with it. They were fabulous and helped round off the autumn inspired meal.

As I mentioned, I doubled this soup, so we ended up with a lot of it. Without doubling, it will make about 4-5 servings. Since we get to have it again tonight – yay! – we are going to add a bag of frozen corn to the pot.

As a side note and a warning, in case I post any other recipe I do here, I tend to cook by taste. So, when seasoning things, I may differ from what the recipe calls for. It just depends on how I feel in that moment. I love cooking that way, since it give more depth to food by adding your personality into it. So, be bold! Try out whatever spices you think might fit the overall flavors of the soup! If you try out something exciting, share it through the comments below!

Meet the Ladies behind 2GOATsoap

At 2GOATsoap, we produce only goat milk soaps using 100% raw and all-natural goat milk. The milk is produced by our backyard herd of Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats – a breed known for their high butterfat and good production:size ratio. Our ladies are a very integral part of our business. As such, we wanted to highlight the lovely does who work so hard for us!

Gunsmoke, one of our farm-bred does whose milk goes into our creamy soaps.
Gunsmoke, one of our farm-bred does whose milk goes into our creamy soaps.
Lemon is the inspiration behind our Little Slice of Lemon Bar, since she is a little bit sweet, a little bit zany, and 100% unique.
Lemon is the inspiration behind our Little Slice of Lemon Bar, since she is a little bit sweet, a little bit zany, and 100% unique.
Bluebell is one of our top producing does. So, she has contributed a lot to the 100% raw goat milk we use in our soaps.
Bluebell is one of our top producing does. So, she has contributed a lot to the 100% raw goat milk we use in our soaps.