Soap, Soup, Garden...

The other day I had the urge to try out a new soap recipe.  Every now and again I like to give new recipes a try.  I make so much soap every year that I have to stick to what works and I use the same recipes to ensure that my soap customers get the same product every time they order from me.  But as a soap maker I like to play around once in awhile too!  LOL..  so I tried this recipe:   I just happen to have all the ingredients on hand and the recipe used some ingredients that I have never used in making soap namely, grapeseed oil and beeswax.  I also wanted a nice fall smelling soap so I scented it as the recipe said with pumpkin spice fragrance oil and a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice..   yum.. the smell from the bars has been permeating my dining room every since!!   This is info for all the soap makers out there if you decide to try the recipe.. it traces really fast!  So be ready to pour into your mold as soon as youreach trace.  The lumpy top of my soap is because as I was trying to smooth the soap out (just after pouring it into the box) it was already setting up.  Since it was a tester recipe I just used my favorite easy and quick mold.. a cardboard box lined with a plastic garbage bag.. works like a charm..  :)   I covered it with a thick blanket for 24 hours and then took the blanket off and left it for another 24 hours.  Then I removed it from the mold…

And cut it (just like you would a pan of brownies :) ….
Now it is curing..  I can’t wait to use it but it needs about 4 weeks to harden up and finish curing. 

Soup Recipe
A few years ago a friend and I stopped at the Olive Garden for lunch and I tried, for the first time, their soup Zuppa Toscana.. it was so good.  I always wanted to try and make it myself.  Well I looked around at several recipes and never did make it.  Then a few months ago a friend shared a recipe for it.  I felt like the recipe needed a bit of tweaking for my tastes..  plus I need a large pot of soup to feed my crew and this one was too small for me.  So I played around and came up with my own version of this yummy soup.  I simplified the original recipe and used spinach instead of kale because I just don’t buy kale but I do buy spinach and I had some in fridge.  I also use whole milk in mine and the original recipe used whipping cream.. I also used my own homemade stock.  If you don’t have stock on hand you can use water and bouillon cubes or broth powder to your own tastes.  But I think the homemade stock really makes it.  I have used both chicken stock and veggie stock and felt both were equally good.  The batch I made the other night I used a mixture of both chicken and veggie because that was all I had in the freezer and it worked great.  Now, onto the recipe…   

Zuppa Toscana Soup 

2lbs sausage
1 large onion, chopped
½ lb bacon, cup up
4 to 5t minced garlic
4qts stock (can be vegetable or chicken stock)
3lbs potatoes, cut up in bite size cubes
6 cups chopped spinach
2 ¼ cups milk 

Cook sausage in 8qt stock pot until done, add bacon, onions and garlic and cook until bacon is done and onions are soft. Add stock, potatoes and spinach.  Bring to a boil and cook about 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.  Add milk and simmer another 5 minutes.    This meal goes great with oat dinner rolls, soft bread sticks or French bread  and a salad.   

My son Jacob and I spent 4 hours on Sunday putting the garden to bed.  We pulled weeds and cleared out plants and then he rototilled for me.  It really still needs another rototilling but I am not sure the nice weather and his schedule will come together again for that to happen…  The only thing we did not pull out was my little patch of zinnia’s, my sunflowers, my cosmos (which are just now starting to bloom!) and some alyssum my daughter planted, plus my cabbage plants..  here is what my garden looked like after we were done… 


I am sore this morning..  :)  Over the weekend I also made some beef soup stock and processed a few of my pumpkins.. I have a whole blog post coming on making your own pumpkin puree from fresh pumpkins..  so stay tuned!!  :)  Have a great Monday everyone!  


  1. Don't believe I've ever posted here, but I love your blog. Your soap looks like delicious fudge! If I ever try that recipe, I'll have to put up a warning sign to keep people from eating it! (Actually the only kind of soap I've ever made is your laundry soap recipe, but some day I do hope to make bar soap... some day... not now, but some day.)

  2. I absolutely love that Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana as well! My mom has been making a "copycat" recipe for years now. We cook it up in TWO pots when we have family gatherings. My mom always puts a bowl full away for some leftovers for herself the next day before we start to eat because no matter how much she makes we always eat every last spoonful.

    Also, that pumpkin spice soup looks absolutely wonderful (and almost edible).

  3. Hi Crystal.. I was wondering where you purchase your fragrance oils for the soap? Your garden area looks beautiful!

  4. Oops! Sorry! I have one more question. Can I use a can of Draino for the lye?

  5. HI Living on Less Money, I have soap making info on my site and you can find links to places to purchase fragrance oils here: And no, you can't use Draino for the lye.. at one time Draino was 100% lye and could be used for soap making.. but it is not any more. You will most like have to purchase lye online:

  6. What a great post on my top three all time most favorite subjects! I hope to make several batches of soap in early November and will seriously consider this formula. Thanks for the link!


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