Now that summer is finally here in full swing, those if us with pets know that it is also the time for dreaded fleas!
Our chihuahua Sissy gets a bath almost everyday o get the fleas off of her. And she only goes outside to use the bathroom!
We have tried every flea and tick spray and gel that is out there, but they only seem to work until she gets bathed again.
My biggest issue with store bought flea/tick repellents and killers is thatched are FULL of chemicals and toxins.
When we sprayed Sissy a couple of days ago I almost choked on all the chemicals and toxins that were released into the air.
This is when I figured that there had to be a better and safer way to deal with these pesky fleas.
Enter: Essential Oils
For the last few weeks I have spent a lot of time researching and learning all about essential oils. What they are, how they work, and how I could practically use them in my day to day life.
Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants
I have learned so much and cannot wait until my diffuser comes in so I can have my home smelling fabulous without compromising the air with chemicals and toxins from candles. (I am sort of a candle junkie, so this may be a more difficult change than many of you are thinking)
But back to the evil fleas. When I decided to look for natural and healthy ways to get rid if fleas I immediately thought about essential oils (from here on out they will be referred to as EO). So I shifted my research to learn about EO and pets.
I found a plethora of information on all the ways you can treat and heal pets with EO, including a flea repellent!
I made a flea repellent spray that I could spray directly on my dogs, as well as on my furniture and around the apartment.
I also added a drop of EO to each of my dogs collars to help when they go outside.
There are several different EOs that work well to repel fleas such as:
• Tea Tree or Melaleuca
• Lemongrass Essential Oil
• Pine Essential Oil
• Cedarwood Essential Oil
• Peppermint Essential Oil
• Lemon Essential Oil
• Lavender Essential Oil
• Orange Essential Oil
• Melrose Essential Oil
• Rosemary Essential Oil
Each of these would do a great job separately at repelling fleas, but a blend would be better.
Since I wanted to make some flea spray immediately instead of ordering some EO from online I stopped by Whole Foods. While there I saw that the brand Wyndmere had an EO blend called Breathe.
SODE NOTE: EOs are full of health benefits and a single EO can have multiple uses and purposes.
Okay, back to what I bought. As I just said, the blend I bought is called Breathe, and was created to help clear a persons clogged nasal passage caused from colds and allergies.
Well I decided to look and see which EOs made up this blend.
The Breathe blend by Wyndmere consist of 100% pure therapeutic grade Basil, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Pine, Rosemary, Lavender, and Cederwood.
Um....that means this blend includes SIX of the recommended oils for repelling fleas!
So I got it.
I already had peppermint EO at home that I had planned on adding to the spray as well.
So that means my spray contains 7 out of the 12 recommended oils! Woo Hoo!
Anyway.... Now to the recipe:
In a 4 oz metal spray bottle I added:
4 drops Peppermint EO
12 drops Breathe Blend
3/4 full of purified water
1/4 full of Witch Hazel
To use, just shake the bottle and spray.
You need to use this more frequently than the ones laden with chemicals and toxins, but it is well worth it to me! :)
It smells good, kind of rustic. But what I love about this is that it repels fleas as well as does 100 other beneficial things! So when I spray it in my home I get every benefit that each delightful EO used has to offer! How cool!
Now I'm sure you are wondering how these oils repel fleas. Well here is some info on some of them from The Whole Dog
A sweet-smelling, all-purpose insect repellent, lavender essential oil performed well in recent studies as both a tick deterrent and a method of preventing tick eggs from hatching. Additionally, Ohio State University recommends it for controlling fleas. A 2007 South African study found that formulas containing diluted lavender at rates of 10 to 20 percent lavender performed well as tick repellents when compared artificial DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) sprays.
A wonderfully fragrant oil that provides a pheromone interruption agent that impairs the insects mental capacity and repels them.
An oil high in menthol - it repels fleas, spiders and even mice.
While better known for its anti bacterial properties it is a great natural pest deterrent as well.
I am super excited to begin this EO journey.
I already have some diffuser "recipes" to try when it comes in!
I'm sure ill have several more post about EOs in the near future!
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Now that summer is finally here in full swing, those if us with pets know that it is also the time for dreaded fleas!
Saturday, June 22, 2013
In March, I started making my own foundation make up. That blog post can be found HERE
Making your own powder is as simple as mixing together some cornstarch (the base) and adding in some cinnamon and/or coco powder until you get your desired color.
I am always looking for ways to improve the things I make at home so I was thrilled when I found a "recipe" that called for mixing Green Clay with the cornstarch/arrowroot powder, cinnamon, and coco powder.
I found this great addition just in time since I used up the last batch of powder this week!
So for my new batch I started with 1 Tbsp cornstarch and 1 Tbsp Green Clay then added in the cinnamon and coco powder little by little.
You may be asking why Green Clay?!?!
Green Clay is often used in resorts for facials and spa treatments. It’s pretty great at absorbing dirt, oil and bacteria while being gentle on pores.
You can also mix some of the green clay with apple cider vinegar or water to make a clay mask for your face that is detoxing and great at cleansing it! :)
I ended up getting the Indian Healing Clay at whole foods for $6.
I think I may try doing a face mask later this week!
Okay, I feel like you all should have seen this coming, right?!?
I mean I make my own everything, toothpaste was sure to be added to the growing list!
There are several recipes for DIY toothpaste, all including baking soda.
One recipe I found also called for coconut oil, which you all know I love me some coconut oil, but the recipe looked WAY too similar to my DIY deodorant (mis the cornstarch) and I don't think I could cope with that! ;)
The recipe I used is simple and the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen pantry.
2/3 cup baking soda
1/2 Tbsp peppermint extract OR 10-15 drops essential oil (you can use any flavor of extract/oil you want)
Water (add until desired consistency reached)
Dash sea salt (optional, I found it to be too salty, so I omitted it)
Combine baking soda, oil/extract and salt (if using) and add in water little by little until desired consistency.
I just dip my toothbrush into the jar of toothpaste. That's it.
I ended up making 2 batches of this. The first time I added the sea salt but when I tested it out it was too salty for me, and since it isn't a crucial ingredient I made another batch omitting it, which I liked better.
Heads up: there are no "suds" or "foam" when using this toothpaste but I can tell you that my mouth felt just as clean after I used it as it does with super expensive store bought toothpaste.
This toothpaste cost me about $.80 to make 5.3 oz. 5.3 oz of All Natural toothpaste cost about $7 in the store and regular toothpaste cost around $4.
So there are mega savings to be had when you make your own products at home!
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Photo credit and original recipe can be found here
Almost every night I get a craving for sweets. Lately I have been indulging in watermelon, a lot of watermelon.
Although watermelon is delicious and healthy it's as if my bids knows that I'm trying to trick it by eating healthy sweets and sometimes still craves something sweet.
Enter: homemade chewy caramels.
I had a suspicion that I would have everything I needed to make some delicious caramels, and I did!
Most caramel recipes call for corn syrup, which is a big no-no for me so I was thrilled for one that used no corn syrup OR refined sugar!
They are super easy to make and so yummy!
I didn't think mine would turn out, but the did!
I didn't post a picture of mine because I haven't mastered the art of wrapping them up all cute in parchment paper, so I just left mine in the pan in the fridge.
Am I being lazy? Possibly. But they taste great whether they are cut into cute squares or scooped out with a spoon! :)
1 cup Honey
3/4 cup Heavy Cream (I USED ALMOND MILK)
1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Butter
Combine honey and cream in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally while it cooks. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches soft ball stage, I used candy thermometer)
Remove pan from the heat and immediately stir in vanilla and butter. Stir until butter is completely melted and combined. Pour into a generously buttered 8 by 8 dish or smaller if you want thick large caramels. Place in the freezer to harden for 30 minutes. Cut into squares or scoop out with a spoon and enjoy!
Keep left overs in the fridge or freezer.
See, so easy. And they really are fabulous!
Okay, okay so maybe they are just stuffed crescent rolls, but they remind me A LOT of hot pockets.
Mini hot pockets.
Whatever you want to call them, I made some today. And they are fabulous.
AND, the possibilities are endless! You could do savory, sweet, salty, whatever you want!!!
For lunch, I stuffed my mini hot pockets with spinach, feta, and mozzarella. They were fantastic! Jonathan loved them! ;)
Can of crescent rolls (if I hadn't been in such a hurry. Would would have made my own dough)
Spinach (I used frozen, but fresh is great too)
Spices (I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder)
I DIDN'T USE EXACT MEASUREMENT, I JUST EYEBALLED IT.
Combine spinach, cheeses, and spices in a bowl and mix well.
Add a spoonful of mixture to each crescent, then roll and bake according to the directions on the crescent roll package.
As I said earlier, they were so yummy and reminded me of mini hot pockets!
Tonight to accompany our eggplant gratin I am going to make some more mini hot pockets with tomato, onion, garlic and cream cheese as the stuffing! I think they will be super yummy too! ;)
Below is a photo of what the stuffing looked like.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
A couple of months ago I wrote THIS BLOG POST on the oil cleansing method of washing your face. In it I gave 2 links that explained why I was using olive oil and grapeseed oil to wash my face. (If you haven't already, you should totally check it out!)
Well, since then I stopped using the olive and grapeseed oils to clean my face and have switched to coconut oil! In the links I posted in my blog post explained the super simple concept of why cleaning your face with oil works. It's basic chemistry: like dissolves like. Translation: the oil you put on your face to clean it dissolves all the oil that is already on your face so you are left with perfectly soft and clean skin! Also, oils are GREAT make up removers. And...olive and castor oils get rid of acne!
If you want more of a face "scrub" add a little baking soda to your hand before you wash your face with the oil. It exfoliates your skin AND gets rid of acne! Win-win!!!
Since coconut oil is a solid, I scoop some out into a little container that I keep by my shower and use my fingers to scoop a tiny bit out each night to put on my face, then with a wash cloth and warm water I wash the coconut oil off. So simple, and so effective! (And cheap!)
Where do I get my coconut oil?
You may have noticed that your local store probably has coconut oil in the COOKING section, and the BEAUTY section.
What's the difference?
Which one do I buy?
Why is the one in the beauty section more expensive? Is it better?
I get my coconut oil from the cooking section. There is NO difference in the coconut oil from the cooking isle and the beauty oil EXCEPT that the oil in the beauty is,e can not be heated on the stove (to cook with). I honestly have no idea why it's more expensive, but I do know that either one is safe and effective for beauty purposes. I get the mine from the cooking isle just in case I ever want to cook with it, and it's cheaper!
Does that make sense? If not, let me know and I'll try to explain it better!
Enjoy the all natural life!
Yesterday made ONE week with no shampoo!!
I think I can do this! :)
Yesterday was my second day in a row to only rinse with hot water. Today my hair is a bit oily, but not unmanageable.
Once I sprinkle some coco powder in it it will look as good as new, won't feel as good as new, but it will look it! ;)
Let me talk a bit about how my hair is feeling. Right now the roots feel kind if stringy (?!?!) and oily. The length of my hair is as close to normal as I can expect. It is soft, but not silky soft like usual.
I am so glad that I decided to switch to no shampoo during the summer where I don't have many places to be where I would feel self conscious about my hair not looking its best. But I'm confident by the time I have places to be and people to see that I will be through this dreaded (but not so bad) transition period!
Monday, June 17, 2013
Sorry I didn't get a chance to post an update yesterday, but we got home kind of late, then I had to take care of my sweet Molly. Who, by the way was able to stand on all four legs last night! I was so excited. She can't stand/walk in them for long, but still, way better than she was on Saturday. So I have hope that she will recover nicely!
Now, onto the update!
Last night (day 6) I only rinsed my hair with hot water. It is doing MUCH better than the first time I washed with only hot water!
It is still a little oily, and still doesn't feel "normal" yet, but I don't think this transition period will last as long as I had first expected!
I will rinse my hair with only water again tonight, so we will see how it does!
I decided to take the picture outside with natural light today. I think when intake the picture under the fluorescent lights it makes it look shiny (oilier) than it really is. I think this is a more accurate depiction of my hair! :)
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Today has been crazy with a Capitol K!
When I woke up this morning I never thought I would be spending 3 1/2 hours in the pet ER with my mini dachshund!
I have been a wreck all day!
Molly woke up not being able to move her back legs much. I was terrified and was convinced she was dying.
Good news (sort of) is that our dear sweet Molly has a slipped disc that can heal itself as long as she stays in a crate 24/7 and takes her meds!
Of course they wanted us to leave her in the hospital, but I was confident that Jonathan and I could take care of her in the comfort of our apartment!
And I am so glad I didn't let the Dr bully me into leaving her there. Our chihuahua Sissy is so worried and checks on Molly constantly, it's sweet and I know Molly enjoys the visit.
Now, onto the real reason you all stopped by, day 5 update!!!
I "washed" my hair with conditioner again tonight, and it is doing really well. Still more oily than "normal" but way better than day 2 or 3.
BUT! We shall see how it does once I only do a hot water wash. That is the real test.
We will have to wait until tomorrow to find out!
Good news is, I can always sprinkle some coco powder on my hair and be good to go! :)
Friday, June 14, 2013
I realized today that I was supposed to "wash" my hair with conditioner last night, not tonight. Oops.
Good thing it doesn't matter!! ;)
Well anyway, I washed with conditioner tonight. The result was still-oily-but-not-AS-oily-hair. So that's a step in the right direction, right? ;)
I'm also going to wash my hair with conditioner tomorrow since I have church and Father's Day outings on Sunday. So we shall see if that helps any.
Also, after doing some research today, I found that for brunettes (me) using coco powder to absorb/cover up the oil works well and doesn't make your hair look ashy!
I'm gonna test it out tomorrow! ;)
I got home super late last night so I didn't get a chance to post pictures from day 3 of using no shampoo, so here it is!
Let me say, this picture is VERY deceiving! This morning I forgot that I hadn't taken pictures for day 3 and I put some baking soda in my hair to absorb some of the oil.
But let me tell ya, I looked like I had bathed in olive oil!
Good news though, A little baking soda helps A LOT during the transition period. It makes it more bearable to go out in public and such.
Tonight I will "wash" my hair with conditioner again and hopefully I will look more presentable for church and Father's Day tomorrow!
It has definitely been an adjustment going from washing my hair every day to only washing it 3 times a week.....with conditioner. But it will be worth it, so I'm told. ;)
After several months of trying store bought all natural deodorant I was about to give up.
None of them were satisfactory to me. They would be fine for the first few hours, then BAM I stunk.
I realize that all natural deodorants only cover up the smell of body odor, but I expected it to actually work. And in this Louisiana heat, I need something that works!
I have been really torn, I REALLY didn't want to go back to using chemical laden deodorant, but at the same time, I didn't want to stink.
That's when I remembered all the times I saw recipes for DIY deodorant and I thought I had all the ingredients, so I looked it up, and sure enough, all of the ingredients needed were in my kitchen pantry!
To be honest, I was a bit skeptical, but figured it was worth a shot. And I am so glad I tried it!
I put some on after I made it, then headed out to a swim meet where I sweated my behind off. But guess what?!?!?! My armpits didn't stink when I got home!!!! After all that sweating I was sure I would be stinking! I was thrilled that I didn't!
I'm sure you are all wanting this amazing recipe, right?!?!
1/4 cup MELTED coconut oil (4 Tbsp solidified coconut oil)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup baking soda
10 drops if essential oils (optional, I used peppermint)
Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl
Add the melted coconut oil and essential oils and stir well.
Once mixed it will be paste-like, place it in a jar before it solidifies.
Leave it to cool naturally before placing it in the fridge for extra solidification. You can keep it at room temperature for easier application, but you can also keep it in your fridge (it gets really hard)
Put some on your hand and rub it on your armpit like you would lotion. That's it. So simple!
HOW IT WORKS:
Baking soda absorbs odors, cornstarch absorbs wetness and coconut oil is an anti-oxidant and a moisturizer with anti-fungal/anti-bacterial properties.
I am in love with this stuff!!!! And I'm sure you will be too, so ditch the harmful chemicals in your deodorant (that have been proven to promote cancer!!!!!), and make some all natural and awesome deodorant!!!
Original recipe found here
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Yesterday I found a recipe on Pinterest for these super yummy muffins, so I decided to make some today!
The recipes originally came from HERE and HERE.
I love that these muffins use NO flour or sugar, but do use healthy fruit and honey instead!
I baked a half of a recipe of each: banana and pumpkin.
For the banana muffins the recipe is:
3 c oats (regular or quick is fine)
1 c plain nonfat greek yogurt
1/2 c honey
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
2 ripe bananas
1/2 c walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray tin with non-stick cooking spray.
Place all of the ingredients in the blender (including bananas), and then blend adding oats in 1/2 c at a time until smooth. You may need to stop the blender a few times to stir. Stir in chopped walnuts after blending is complete.
Divide batter among 12 muffin cups and bake for 20 min. or until toothpick comes out clean.
And for the pumpkin:
2 1/2 c oats (regular or quick is fine)
1 c plain nonfat greek yogurt
1/2 c honey
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1 c canned pumpkin
1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)
Same as above! :)
I won't lie, these muffins are delicious, but mine came out very dense and still a little gooey inside. Also, they sunk a little as they cooled. But since I don't plan on entering them in a cooking competition anytime soon, I'm fine with that.
I think these will be perfect for a quick breakfast, even if they are dense and a bit gooey!!! They sure do taste yummy!!! ;)
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
I've decided to document my no-poo journey (especially my transition period) for both you, and me!
Some days will just be sort of a check-in, but I think it will help others who want to go no-poo!
Let me just say, today definitely began my transition period!!!!
Today was the first day that I used only warm water to "wash" my hair.
As you may be able to see in the picture above or below (both taken once my hair air dried after my shower), my hair is a bit oily now.
This is because my scalp is used to producing the natural oils that shampoo normally strips from my head. Once my scalp gets used to being treated nice (not using the dreaded shampoo) it will know that it doesn't need to produce that much natural oil and my hair will no longer look like I took a shower in olive oil!
I'm hoping that since I have been using sulfate/silicone/paraben free shampoo that this transition process won't be as brutal, but we shall see!
Tomorrow I will use conditioner again, and hopefully my hair will respond well! :)
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
As most of you know, I made the switch to sulfate/silicone/paraben free shampoo several months ago and haven't looked back
Since then, I have done my research and my interest has been piqued concerning the "no-poo" (not using shampoo) movement that is gaining force throughout the all natural beauty community.
My first thought was: I'm sure it's great, but there is NO WAY that I can do that.
Well, now that I am trying to grow my super short hair out to be super long, I acknowledge that for this to happen as quickly as possible my hair and scalp need to be as healthy as possible. For that to happen, I need to stop damaging it with the awfulness that is shampoo.
Igor from igorsbelltower.blogspot.com writes this about why shampoos suck! It's great! ;)
Why shampoo sucks:
Shampoo strips the oils out of hair and then conditioner replaces them. No matter what clever and flashy commercials tell you, shampoo is damaging to hair.
The harsh surfactacts present in shampoo like sodium lauryl sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate tend to overcleanse the scalp. These detergents also dry out the hair.
To compensate for the drying out, the scalp produces more sebum to protect itself and restore the natural state. Skin and scalp needs both a certain pH and natural oils to stay healthy.
This tends to put you in a cycle where you overcleanse to get rid of the greasy hair and your scalp produces more grease to compensate. Some link the overcleansing to dandruff and scalp issues.
Instead of using harsh products for cleansing and the putting the back moisture on, you can clean with a product that adds moisture.
After all of my research, I do not think I can jump straight to "no-poo". And by that I mean "washing" your hair with baking a soda and water mixture and "conditioning" your hair with an apple cider vinegar mixture.
Instead, I am going to work my way to that beginning by going "conditioner only" for a while, then transitioning to no-poo with the hopes of eventually just rinsing my hair in warm water instead of "washing" it with anything.
I am aware that this will not be an easy process, and I will have several days (possibly weeks) of less than beautiful hair, but my research has shown me that it will more than pay off!
WHY DO THIS?!?!? (Besides the fact that shampoo is ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE for your hair)
There are TONS of testimonials out there in the blogosphere about how going no-poo completely changed people's hair.....for the better! Blogger after blogger has said how after going no-poo (and suffering through the transition period) their hair had more body, more shine, less frizz, was more manageable, super soft and those with curly hair say this is a must to control curls naturally! All of this just by cutting out all the chemicals in shampoo.
PLEASE, DO YOUR RESEARCH IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN TRYING IT OUT, THERE ARE TONS OF RESOURCES OUT THERE!
What I do:
3 times a week I will wash my hair with only conditioner, the other 4 days a week I will just rinse my hair with hot water.
To wash my hair with conditioner, first I squirt a handful of conditioner in my hand to massage into my scalp. I let that sit for at least 5 minutes while I finish my shower. Rinse that out then add more conditioner to the length of my hair (since the rest time was just for my scalp to mid shaft of my hair) then rinse right away.
What conditioner I use:
2 of the 3 nights that I plan on conditioning my hair I will use Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deep Conditioner and the other night I will use Giovanni Avocado and Olive Oil Conditioner Mask.
Tonight was my first night in this journey, but I promise to keep you updated!
Let me know, would you consider ever going "no-poo"? Why or why not?
Below is a picture of my hair once it air dried after my first day of using conditioner only!!!
Not too bad, yet. I'm thinking tomorrow may be worse since it will be my first time just rinsing it with hot water and not "washing" it with anything!
Friday, May 31, 2013
As I was browsing Pinterest I saw a pin for a DIY Planner, so of course I had to check it out.
The original blog I referenced can be seen here.
I immediately loved the idea of a personalized planner that has everything I need in a planner, and nothing more.
As I set out to make my own, I found a plethora of templates online, but none of them were exactly what I needed (The author of this blog includes a cleaning schedule and a detailed prayer journal in her DIY planner and her weekly calendars are broken down by the hour, which is more detail than I need in a planner right now), so I started up Pages, and began creating my own.
It definitely took some time, but I love the outcome and it was so worth it!
At the start of every month I have a monthly calendar so I am able to look at the month as a whole, not just week-by-week.
I also added a prayer journal page at the beginning of each month.
My hope is that this will help me be more intentional in my prayer life. And so when I tell someone that I will be praying for them, it won't slip my mind.
I am super excited about this part of my planner!!!
Instead of typing in the dates for each week and having to print them out at home, I left them blank so I could print it off at Office Depot, for way cheaper!
Then I went in and wrote in the date for each day.
I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it really wasn't. And I was able to use fun color pens to fill in the dates!
I also added a space at the bottom of each day to put what we have planned for dinner. Since we schedule meals 2 weeks at a time, sometimes I forget what we have planned! Also, it allows me to see how long it's been since we have eaten a certain meal.
All in all my weekly calendar is pretty simplistic, but it works for me, and gives me plenty of room to doodle! ;)
On the last page of each month I also added a "notes" section for anything I may need to write down to remember.
For the cover I picked out a fun piece of scrapbook paper from Michael's and cut it to fit the rest of the pages.
The binding was only $2.90 at Office Depot and the entire planner cost me $15.
I realize that I could buy a planner at the store for $10 or so, but being able to have one that is customized to fit my exact needs is well worth the extra $5!
Enjoy! And let me know if you decide to make your own planner! ;)
Also, I have the file with the pages that I used for my planner if anyone is interested!
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Long time no see! But alas, I am back!
And so is summer.
That means I am sure to be getting some summer colds.
This unfortunate fact makes these DIY cough drops so special and such a great find!
The original recipe came from HERE
For my cough drops I used green tea for the liquid base, honey for the sweetener, and peppermint essential oil for the medicinal properties.
The website where I found the original recipe had this information:
Some great herbs (and their uses) for lozenges are:
Horehound - (be careful - this stuff is strong!) pain reliever, stimulates digestion
Echinacea - best before full onset of cold, anti-bacterial + blood cleanser
Peppermint - expectorant, decongestant and mild pain reliever
Eucalyptus - relieves congestion
Camphor - relieves congestion
Ginger - pain relieving, antiseptic and antioxidant
Goldenseal - antiseptic and immune stimulant
Licorice - anti-viral, chest and throat soother
Sage - good for sore throats
Fennugreek - expectorant
Juniper - relieves congestion
Yarrow - reduces fevers and inflammation
All you actually need for this recipe is sugar (sweetener) and tea. The herbs are helpful, but if you use tea that has herbs in it to help with your cold, they aren't necessary.
To make the cough drops:
1 part liquid : 1 part sugar
You can use a combination of sweeteners, but each combo will have different cooking times for this reason I bought a candy thermometer. It helped so much!
Add your sugar to your tea and heat over med-high.
Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
Bring to a boil and DO NOT STIR AGAIN. (Since I used all honey, I stirred continuously)
Wash away crystals from the side of your pan with a damp brush or cloth.
Once candy reaches 300oF (150oC), remove from heat.
Add colors and flavorings (opt) and stir.
Pour your finished mixture into your prepared molds.
Allow to set until firm.
The website where I got the recipe from suggested to make your own molds using powders sugar. I tried that, it didn't work for me. I would rather buy some molds to use.
Disclaimer: since I used only honey to sweeten these drops they tasted predominately of honey with a menthol aftertaste (from the peppermint EO).
Next time I want to use other herbs as well as the peppermint. And I may cut the honey in half and just cave and use some sugar (ugh)
Now I'm all ready for summer colds and winter colds!
I love that they are all natural and I know exactly what's in them! :)
Monday, April 29, 2013
Pictured: frozen yogurt I used, the chocolate mixture, the strawberry mixture, the recipe I used from Eating Well Magazine, and the final product before putting it in the freezer to harden.
It's been a while since I have posted anything, but I figured since I had some free time I would share this incredible frozen dessert that is sure to be a summertime hit, and a regular dessert in the Silva Household!
Now, I usually don't post about a recipe until I have tried the finished product, but I am so confident that is fool-proof recipe will be fabulous I decided to go ahead and share it!
This recipe came from this months issue of Eating Well magazine (which is ALWAYS on sale for $4.99/ 1 year subscription on discount magazine websites. I highly suggest getting it, we are also using a recipe from this months issue for dinner tomorrow!)
The original recipe calls for raspberries, but I already has strawberries in the freezer so decided to use those. I believe any fruit that you think will taste good with chocolate would work. Or, skip the chocolate and have the center be vanilla. Mmmm I may try peaches next time and have a vanilla center!! ;)
4 cups Vanilla low-fat frozen yogurt (SOFTENED)
2 Tbsp coco powder (skip this if you prefer a vanilla center)
1 1/3 cup strawberries (or whichever fruit you desire)
-Mash up strawberries until they are in small pieces, or however small you want them.
-Add in 2 cups softened frozen yogurt and mix well.
-In a separate bowl combine coco powder and remaining 2 softened cups frozen yogurt
-line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and spoon in half of strawberry mixture
-add the chocolate mixture
-top off with the rest of the strawberry mixture
-place in freezer to harden for at least 3 hours.
- once hardened invert onto a platter and slice. (Recommended to slice into 8 pieces)
As I said, I haven't tasted the finished product yet, but I did sneak a taste of each mixture and they were both super yummy, so I have high hopes! :)
Since this is made with fat-free frozen yogurt it is a pretty healthy dessert or snack at only 96 calories per serving (based on 8 servings per recipe)
It's cheap too!
Since I already had the strawberries and coco powder it only cost me $3.00 for the frozen yogurt! That's only $.43 per serving if you serve 8 slices!!! (And cheaper if you end up cutting smaller slices!)
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Photo Credit to: funkypolkadotgiraffe.blogspot.com
One of my favorite summertime drinks is the passion tea lemonade (unsweetened) from Starbucks. I could drink a Trenta size everyday, but that get expensive!
So I was incredibly excited when I found THIS copycat recipe!
I decided that I just HAD to try it!
I am so glad I did! It is delicious, and bound to save me lots of money this summer!!
All you need is:
sweetener of your choice (I used stevia)
To make the tea concentrate:
brew 2 tea bags for every 1 cup (8 oz) water.
The box of tea comes with 20 tea bags, so I decided to just brew them all, so I boiled 10 cups of water and steeped the 20 bags for 20ish minutes (to make sure it was extra strong, since I could always dilute it later)
After I brewed the tea I went ahead and added my stevia to it, so I wouldn't have to worry about sweetening each glass individually. (You can choose to skip this step and just sweeten each glass as you make it)
Then I just stored the passion tea concentrate in the fridge until I am ready to make a glass of passion tea lemonade.
To make the passion tea lemonade:
the original recipe called for lots of ice, then 2 parts passion tea concentrate to 1 part lemonade.
Since I made my concentrate strong, I ended up doing equal parts tea concentrate to lemonade.
I used the Minute Maid Light lemonade that is only 15 calories per cup, making this delightful summer drink only 15 calories/cup!!!! (Plus sugar, if you choose to use it)
The cost for me to make 80 oz of tea concentrate and have 56 oz of lemonade to mix cost me a total of $5!
$3 for the box of tea and $2 for the lemonade. That will make about 17 cups of this delicious drink!
Sunday, April 7, 2013
You may have noticed that my interest in making jam and canning/preserving it sort of came on rather quick.
You would be absolutely correct!
I became I the rested in jam making/preserving after reading this blog post and recipe on my new favorite blog!
It is a recipe for a simple chocolate cake made with homemade jam.
The blog post talks about preserving jam in the summer for the winter and it all sounded fabulous and I decided that I wanted to learn how to do it. (Especially if I could make a yummy cake out of it, right?!?!)
So as you know from my blog post yesterday I successfully made and canned my own mango jam!
Even though I only ended up with 2 jars of plain mango jam, I couldn't resist using one of them to make this cake, since after all, the jam wouldn't have existed if I had never seen the recipe!
This cake is super simple and delicious. Disclaimer: it isn't super sweet since it is a tea cake, but it is just sweet enough to satisfy.
1 1/2 cup self-rising flour (I used whole wheat)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used stevia)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla or chocolate extract
1 cup prepared jam (I used my mango jam)
3/4 cup whole milk (I used 1/2 regular almond milk and 1/2 chocolate almond milk)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
Sift together flour and cocoa, and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in jam and milk.
Stir flour into wet mixture until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container.
If you don’t have self-rising flour, simply swap in 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
(I wasn't sure if my flour was self rising or not, so I added this in just in case!)
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Earlier this week I made it my Summer's goal to learn how to can and preserve.
Well....I decided I couldn't wait that long to try my hand at canning!
Not to mention I had 9 beautiful mangoes sitting on my counter just begging to be made into jam!
So I made mango jam!
Since I wasn't sure if I would actually like mango jam, I only made two half pints of it.
But I did make 5 half pints of mango pepper jelly (well, technically it's mango pepper jam, I didn't know you had to strain it to make it "clear" and to technically call it jelly, oh well, it still taste yummy!)
So, at first I was all gung-ho about getting a pressure canner, but decided to start my canning journey by getting a water bath canner.
Note: water bath canners are only safe for high acidic foods. (Fruits) so do your research if you want to start canning before you buy a canner!
And let me just tell you, canning is SO MUCH EASIER than I ever expected. It actually isn't hard at all.
The worst part (for me) was the prep and cleanup of making the jam. But I always hate the prep and cleanup of any type of cooking, so that's not surprising.
For this jam, I took two different recipes and made my own.
4-6 cups chopped mango
2 tsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp pectin (I used no sugar/low sugar pectin)
1-2 cups Stevia, based on personal taste (called for sugar)
1-2 cup water
For mango pepper jelly/jam just add peppers (any type you like. I used jalapeños and Serrano peppers).
Peel mangoes and mash with a potato masher (I just threw mine in the blender to purée)
Bring water lemon juice and sugar to a boil
Once water is boiling, stir in puréed (or mashed) mango and pectin
Stir as the mixture begins to bubble.
Let boil for 5 minutes, or until mixture is thick enough for you.
Ladle jam into hot jars
Process in a water bath for 10-15 minutes.
Set jars on towel lined counter and let sit for 12-24 hrs until cool then check the seal.
Yay rah! All of mine sealed right away!!
For pepper jelly add peppers when you add the mango and pectin.
That's it. Super simple! And I tasted both batches as the jam was cooking and boy oh boy they were both yummy. Definitely better than I expected!! ;)
I can't wait for the Pontchatoula Strawberry Festival next weekend to get some strawberries to make strawberry jam! YUMM!!! :)
I will definitely be canning all summer long!
What will you be canning?!?!
Saturday, March 30, 2013
While browsing Pinterest today I came across THIS recipe for a detox strawberry lemonade smoothie.
So of course I had to try it.
It is DELICIOUS!
And healthy. And low-calorie. And filling.
Who wouldn't love it?!?
Check it out!
1/2 cup pure coconut water
1 1/6 cup local, organic strawberries
1/4 medium-large local, organic lemon
1 handful of organic spinach
2 to 3 small pitted, local Deglet Noor dates (optional and can be used to sweeten according to taste)
2 scoops ice
The recipe is from smoothie enthusiast Heather Scott, who owns Purple Plant Smoothies, a San Francisco-based smoothie catering company. She recommends having the smoothie as a light snack or in addition to a healthy meal. "Most whole food, real fruits, and veggies have a number of extremely beneficial nutrients to help the body cleanse and detox naturally," Heather says. Get her recipe below!
Place strawberries, lemon, coconut water, ice, spinach, and dates (optional) in a blender.
Blend on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
I did not have any dates, so I used some liquid stevia instead.
This is my new favorite smoothie, EVER.
And...it's a great detoxifier!!!
I LOVE foods that also serve as a natural detox!
It reminds me of a (high sugar and super unhealthy) frozen strawberry lemonade that you can buy from a number of places.
I will definitely be making this throughout the summer!
Thursday, March 28, 2013
So....I am still pretty stinkin' excited that I made my own biscuits from scratch!!!!
This is something that even the thought of just 6 months ago terrified me.
So I'm pretty proud.
The recipe I used was SO SIMPLE that it had me wondering why anyone even buys canned biscuits in the first place?!??
And to make it even better, they were WHOLE WHEAT and "clean"!
I served these as my "crust" for my chicken pot pie tonight, they were delicious!
I will definitely be making these biscuits again and again! :)
Super Easy Whole Wheat Biscuits
SERVES: 8-10 BISCUITS
2 cups whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur’s white whole wheat organic flour)
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cold unsalted butter
1 cup milk (any kind)
In a medium sized bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well with whisk or fork.
Cut the ½ stick butter into little pea sized pieces and then mix the pieces into the flour mixture.
Using a fork, try to mash the butter pieces as you mix it together with the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs. It is okay if the outcome just looks like the same pea sized pieces of butter covered with flour.
Then pour in the milk and mix it all together. Knead the dough with your hands 8 to 10 times and then turn out onto a counter or cutting board.
Pat it out flat with your hands until the dough is a somewhat even ¾-inch thickness (sprinkle with a little flour if necessary).
Turn a drinking glass upside down and cut out biscuit rounds. I have also used shaped cookie cutters (like a heart or star) if you have little ones helping you!
Then put them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Let me start by asking this, how many of your favorite recipes (especially those wonderful comfort foods) call for a can of Cream of Something Soup!?!
My guess is, a lot! I know several of mine do!
If you are like me, once you learned what was actually in those cans of soup, you never wanted to buy one again, much less eat it! (Plus, the texture always grosses me out!)
Well, now I don't have to!
I found a wonderful recipe HERE for a DIY cream if X soup!
One batch of this equals 9 cans of soup!!
I used this tonight for my chicken pot pie filling and it was FABULOUS!
I am in love with this!!
And it's healthy!!!
2 cups powdered non-fat dry milk
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup instant chicken bouillon (regular or low sodium)
2 Tbsp dried onion flakes
2 tsp Italian seasoning (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a recloseable plastic bag, mixing well.
Store in air tight container.
Equal to 9 (10.5 oz) cans of cream soup.
To substitute for 1 can of cream soup:
Combine 1/3 cup of dry mix with 1 1/4 cups of cold water. Whisk until well blended.Cook and stir on stove top or in microwave until thickened. Add thickened mixture to casseroles as you would a can of soup.
So....I let it slip to some of my friends yesterday that I wash my face with olive oil. As u can imagine, I got several weird looks. I am here to explain why.
As I continue to switch all of my beauty products to all natural I have been in search of the perfect face wash for me and my skin!
I hadn't found it yet....until I read THIS BLOG POST and THIS WEBSITE!
Now I have ditched all of my bottled face wash and stopped my search for an all natural face wash and started using a blend of olive oil and grapeseed oil.
You heard me right, I wash my face with OIL!
And my skin has never been smoother or cleaner. It's amazing.
You may be thinking What?!?! How does oil clean your face!?! Wouldn't it make it more oily?!?
Nope. It's basic chemistry, like resolves like. Basically, oil resolves oil.
I'm sure you are a bit skeptical. I know Jonathan was. He has oily skin and was extremely hesitant to try it, but once he did, he is an oil cleansing method believer! He even commented on how clean and "normal" his skin felt.
And it's GREAT for removing make-up too. This was my biggest fear that I would end up with mascara under my eye. Not the case at all.
Instead of going I to detail about how and why I use the oil cleansing method I will refer you to the 2 links I posted above. They explain it all so well! I'd check out the blog first, then read the article. ;)
Let me know what you think!
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Ever since beginning our clean eating journey Jonathan and I have been struggling with the decision of buying a juicer.
"Would we really use it?"
"Is it too expensive to juice?"
"Would we even like the juice!?!?"
These were all questions we discussed over and over. And over and over.
After MUCH research and thought we finally decided to take the plunge and buy a juicer!
We got the Breville Juice Fountain.
I love it!!
It is pretty amazing and super easy to clean!
Of course we just HAD to try it out after Jonathan and I went for our run!
We made a "mean green lemonade" and it was delicious!!!
Ingredients (for 2 16 oz juices)
1 small bunch kale
8 celery stalks
We ran all the ingredients through the juicer then drank up!
I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was.
I'm going to make some in the morning to bring for lunch tomorrow..that's how good it was.
I REALLY can't wait to do a 3-day Juice Cleanse now! So exciting!
I'm sure some of you are wondering how much it cost us to make the Mean Green Lemonade, no worries, it didn't break the bank.
Each 16 oz juice ended up costing $3.
Definitely more expensive than some processed snack/meal, but SOOOO much healthier, like a BILLION times healthier.
And it fills you up too!
With this cost frame a 3-day juice cleanse of 5 juices a day will cost approximately $45. Not bad at all considering all the benefits that come from it. I can't wait!!! :)
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
I have hit the All Natural jackpot by discovering THIS website!
If you click the link it will take you to the "recipe" I am blogging about now, but her site is FULL of great all natural recipes!
As evident by my last post, I am making the switch to all natural beauty and hygiene products to rid my body of nasty chemicals and toxins.
Well...my mineral foundation powder is almost out (as in it probably wouldn't have lasted until Saturday) I was planning on stopping by the mall on Friday to pick some more up (for $27), but now I don't have to!
Thanks to thankyourbody.com I now have a super simple and TOXIC FREE foundation powder "recipe".
And of course I had to share it!
You will probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen pantry!
Cornstarch (or Arrowroot Powder)
Jojoba, Olive, or Almond Oil (optional)
1. Start with a base of Cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) (1 tsp. for dark skin – 1 Tbs. for light skin)
2. Slowly add in one or combination of the cocoa powder, cinnamon, or nutmeg until you reach your desired tone.
If you want more of a “compact” foundation, add some jojoba/olive/almond oil to the mixture and press down into a compact. (Start with 5 drops and keep adding until it reaches your desired texture).
Use a brush to apply foundation. Make sure to tap off excess before swiping face.
I ended up using some of all three spices to reach my perfect tone, but I found the cinnamon altered the color the easiest. All three ingredients have been known to be good for skin, so not only is this make-up non toxic but it really is good for you!
I am so stinking excited and proud of this! I just saved Jonathan $30! ;)
It makes a good amount too!
There are also "recipes" for homemade mascara, lip balm, bronzer, and blush! I'm excited to try them all! :)
Let me know if you try it!
Friday, March 15, 2013
Ever since Jonathan and I stopped eating processed foods we have both felt so much better. We have more energy, we are happier, and feel healthy! Not only has our health improved on the I side, but also the outside (better hair, nails, skin).
The removal of toxic chemicals from our diet made me think about all the horrible chemicals that are still getting into my body through my skin and all the chemical laden beauty products I use! YUCK!
This led me to begin my all natural journey.
I am not making the all natural switch to "avoid cancer" even though the chemicals I am avoiding are directly linked to cancer, I am making the switch to feel the best I can in my skin. If I treat my body well, I will be healthier and happier, this I have already learned from our diet change!
For me, it has been a slow and gradual change for several reasons. One, it can be expensive to swap everything out at once. Secondly, I still had a lot of stuff in my stockpile from when I couponed ALL THE TIME. And I wasn't going to let it all go to waste!
So I had to decide which products were most important to ME to switch out first. My first priority was to switch to an all natural lotion and deodorant, since they are both products that I leave on my skin and allow to soak into my pores and get inside my body. Then, I slowly began switching out my other products.
I am not 100% all natural yet, but I am getting there!
WHAT DOES ALL NATURAL MEAN?
It means different things to different people.
To me, it means NO SCARY CHEMICALS.
I actively avoid the following ingredients: parabens, phthalates, fragrance, formaldehyde, toluene, and a couple of other known toxins and chemicals linked to cancer.
I also look for companies who are cruelty-free and eco -friendly. It’s great to use products that are natural and organic, but not if animals or the planet have to suffer to get there.
In the near future I hope to be using nothing but all natural products!
Here are some of the ones that I am already using, and LOVE!
I am using Everyone Lotion, it is a great value as well as a great lotion! $9.99 for 32 oz! It can be used for face, body, and hands!
If you are friends with me on Facebook then you have likely heard of my new favorite shampoo/conditioner. Bröö. It's a beer based shampoo that is vegan, cruelty free, and absolutely amazing! Since I have started using it I no longer need any kind of extra product for my hair!
Making the switch to a natural deodorant has definitely been the toughest challenge for me. Since natural deodorants are not antiperspirants, they do not help prevent you from sweating, they just mask the smell. I am definitely still getting used to it, but I know that by eliminating the toxic chemicals that are in antiperspirants I am doing my body good, so it is worth it and I will continue to get used to it.
I am currently using Earth Science, but plan on trying out a few brands before I settle on one.
I have just learned of a neat organic make up line that is available at DRUG STORES!! It is Organic Wear by Physicians Formula. I was so excited to see that I could find all natural makeup for a reasonable price!
I just bought some of their tinted moisturizer today but so far, I like it! I was never into tinted moisturizers, but it really helps to even out my skin tone when I use my loose powder!
I am a bareMinerals girl! Ever since I got their starter kit on Martha's Vineyard 4 years ago I have loved it! And I still do! I use the original powder foundation.
I use bareMinerals blush and eye shadow too!
Organic Wear makes a great mascara and eye liner that I bought today as well and I am loving the mascara!
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Last night I tried the most amazing snack ever!
Homemade banana "ice cream"!!!
For those of you on weight watchers, it's ZERO points!
For those of us who are vegan (plant based diet) or eating raw, this is a perfect snack!!
This simple recipe takes minutes to prepare and can easily become a permanent replacement for a nighttime snack! And it's healthy!!!
Frozen banana (however many you want. I used one and a half)
Vanilla Extract (I just used a dash)
Spices (I used cinnamon, but you can use whatever you like, or omit it all together)
Place all ingredients in a blender/food processor and blend until smooth.
That's it! Super easy and so delicious.
I expected it to be good, but I never expected it to be this good!!
Next time your craving something sweet try some homemade "ice cream"!
Try it out and let me know what you think!
Side note: you can blend any frozen fruit to make "ice cream" or sorbet!
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
I have had several people ask for the recipe that we cooked last night, so I am here to deliver!
They were SOOO good, and I can't wait to eat them leftover after all the favors have come together!
Wild rice stuffed cabbage leaves
Cabbage (I used 9 leaves, but use however many you want!
2 carrots diced
2stalks celery dices
2 cloves garlic minced
16 oz tomato sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup veggie stock
3 cups cooked wild rice
Blanch cabbage leaves
Sauté onions carrots and celery with a little bit of water (to prevent sticking).
Once onions are soft add the garlic, sage, and sherry and cook until liquid has evaporated.
Mix cooked rice with cooked onion, carrots, and celery.
Spoon rice mixture into cabbage leaves, roll them up and place seam side down in baking dish.
Pour veggie broth into baking dish.
Cover with foil and Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and pour tomato sauce over cabbage rolls, cover and bake for another 15 minutes. (I forgot to take a picture of them after I put the tomato sauce on them!)
We had a lot of the rice mixture left over so you can always cut that in half if you want!
Let me know if you try it!
SIDE NOTE: I think it would be just as good, if not better with some soy sauce/chinese sauce instead of tomato sauce!
Saturday, February 23, 2013
As most of you know, I have been on this whole homemade kick lately. Well today I finally tried something I have been wanting to do for a while! ALMOND BUTTER!
It is easy, but tedious. And I'm not going to lie, the cleanup process is NOT FUN, but totally worth it!
All you need is some almonds!
I used 3 cups of almonds that I roasted at 350 for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
After I roasted the almonds I put them in the Ninja (food processor/blender) and blended until they turned into powder, then blended it until it got smooth and creamy (I had to stop several times to scrape the side of the blender, and to let the motor cool down.
You may want to add a little bit of olive oil, but it isn't necessary.
Don't be alarmed, it may take 15 minutes or so to get it to the consistency that you like.
So that's it, put almonds (roasted or raw) into blender/food processor until smooth and creamy.
And just an FYI, I used my ninja for this, not my fancy blender!
There are so many different things you can add to this to make it even more tasty.
Since I love dipping my apples in it I added honey and cinnamon to my almond butter and it turned out AMAZING!
And you can totally use any type of nut, I just chose almonds!
Let me know if you try it!
Target had a mark down this week on all Nivea body wash from $3 to $2.69.
That doesn't seem like a super great deal, but when you pair it with the $2/1 Q it makes them only $.69 each!!!
So naturally I bought 20 of them!
20 Nivea Body Wash: $3 each: $60
Sale: $2.69 each: $53.80
Minus (20) $2/1 Q (-$40)
That's a savings of $46.20!!!!
And not to mention Jonathan has enough body wash to last a while!! :)