In order to celebrate the return of The Outlander series this weekend, myself and some of my bloggy friends are hosting a Kindle Touch Giveaway that includes The Outlander books 1 – 8!
And that is not all. Each of us has put together a project or a recipe that is inspired by The Outlander. There are some really, really great ideas! Check them out at the bottom of the post.
Now, I have a personal and long-standing love of The Outlander. In fact, by (due this month!) son’s name is James. Jamie when he is little.
When I was a preteen, my mom started reading a new book series. You see, my mom is an avid reader. I say that knowing it entirely understates the amount of reading my mom did when I was a child. There were some small local libraries that she’d read every book in her preferred genre from! She even used to borrow from high schools to get her “book fix.”
Anyway, my mom fell in love with this book, The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Well, more accurately she fell in love with a character from this book. (I’ll let you guess who). Despite raving about how amazing it was, she told me I couldn’t read it until I was older.
So when I turned 17, a new book in that same series came out. We went to the library and I borrowed the first book in the series. And then I borrowed the next one. And the next. 500+ pages and I was devouring them in a week.
It was another 4 years or so before the next book came out. And in that time I’d purchased all of the previous books, and mom and I had re-read them all to prepare for the next one. This pattern continues today, and just this summer I purchased the newest book in the series. I finished it in 11 days while in a ’73 Beetle and travelling across the United States camping.
Mom and I have successfully converted quite a few people to the Outlander. My aunt, friends, and even my husband has read the books. And why? Well, they are amazing. The story is romantic, dramatic, action packed, and with just enough historical accuracy to feel grown-up, and not like a children’s book with sex in it. [WARNING: There is sex in it. Hence my mother’s insistence I wait to read it] The issues dealt with are real and poignant. The characters have depth and grow/change as we all would when faced with new challenges. They are broken, but not in a trite must-advance-the-plot kind of way. In an honest, relatable way.[/accordion]
In The Outlander there are tons of places to draw inspiration from, but I knew I had to work with Claire. She and I are sort of kindred spirits. In the books she uses everyday ingredients, herbs, and her knowledge to create salves, creams, compresses, teas, and countless other remedies. Plus, she gets up-close and personal with Himself, sharing what is obviously not simple doctor-patient heated moments, usually applying one of these concoctions to his body. So, how better to celebrate the new episodes than with an old-world massage bar? This bar is crazy easy. Someone like Claire wouldn’t have even measured ingredients. And she wouldn’t have been picky about the type of materials she used. It would be whatever she could get that was cheap, and that would work.
- 1/4 c grated beeswax (You can sub out with more cocoa butter or with vegetable wax. But I think beeswax would definitely be in Claire’s reach).
- 1/4 c Cocoa, Shea, Mango butter. (I’m not sure which of these would be most available to Claire. I suppose it depends on which book she is in at the time, and which of her many alchemical connections is around. The idea is a hard-at-room-temperature butter.)
- 1/4 c Coconut Oil (Claire might have used lard or animal grease for this bit. I’m not that brave.)
- 2 tsp Almond Oil (Or olive oil, or vegetable oil, or any sort of food-safe oil.)
- A few drops of essential oil, some ground herbs, whatever might cure what ails you. (I would start with 6 drops of peppermint oil, which is cooling and promotes bloodflow. Great for sore muscles!
I want to note that, though I included actual measurements, this is more of a mix than a recipe. 1 part wax to 1 part butter to 1 part semi-solid oil, and a dash of liquid oil, and your “active ingredient”.
- Grate and melt the wax first. I used my handy melter, but Claire would have done this over a candle, or near the fire (but not in it!). As always, use good wax meant for cosmetics. No candles here!
- Add the other oils and butter. Melt and mix thoroughly.
- At the last minute, add the essential oils or herbs.
- Pour into a vessel to solidify. In modern times we could do this in a silicone mold for a great result. I figured ceramic dishes were more likely available for Claire, and so that is what I used.
- Once solid, remove the bar (might need a thin knife to persuade it) and wrap it in wax paper for storage (or oiled cloth if you are in the rough.) Store in a cool place!
That’s it! These really are delicious and luxurious on your skin. I wouldn’t use them daily as they are personally too heavy for my skin. But they are amazing for massages, distributing the lotion evenly, and without drippy messes. Even without essential oils they have a wonderful earthy and chocolate smell.
The Other Projects: