Browsing Category: Health & Wellness

DIY Orange Vanilla Handcream

I’m picky about what I put on my skin and even pickier about what I put on my son’s. Many beauty products on the market are chock full of toxic ingredients. There are some fantastic organic, non-toxic varieties out there however you certainly pay a premium for them which is why making your own is a great solution.  This recipe sounds so good I want to eat it! :)

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Orange Vanilla Handcream (for full recipe & instructions visit Blah Blah Magazine)

You’ll Need:

  • 12 g/0.4 oz cocoa butter
  • 12g/0.4 oz beeswax
  • 30ml/1 fl oz almond oil
  • 10 drops of carrot or borage seed oil
  • 10 drops orange or tangerine and vanilla essential oils (optional)

Cucumber Limeade

We’ve had some really hot weather here the last several days. Drinking lots of water is important and we definitely do plenty of that but I’ve also been really into homemade refreshing drinks. I’ve been experimenting with different herbal and green tea concoctions which have turned out really great. This recipe really turned my head though.  I love limeades but the ones you get at drive-in’s are so full of sugar. This recipe seems so insanely refreshing with cucumber and lime….oh yummy!

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Cucumber Limeade (this delicious recipe found on Crunchy Creamy Sweet)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cucumber, washed, skin peeled
  • 3 small limes, juiced
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 4 to 5 cups of cold water
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (I will be using 2-3 packets of stevia in lieu of sugar)

Instructions

Chop cucumber into small cubes and place cucumber and lime juice in a blender, blending until smooth. Strain over a medium mixing bowl, throwing away any solids.** Return the cucumber lime juice back into the blender and add 2 cups of water, ice cubes and sweetener, blend well. Pour into a pitcher, add the remaining water and stir well. Serve over ice.

**I will be using my juicer to juice the cucumber instead of messing with blending and straining.

DIY Hair Conditioner

Summer is here (well not quite officially but almost). I love this time of year but it’s no secret the heat, humidity, chlorine from swimming pools, salt from ocean water and the sun can really reek havoc on our skin and hair. No need to go out and buy an expensive hair conditioner when you can make one at home that’s completely non-toxic.  Here are a few of my favorites!

DIY Nourshing Hair Mask – found on Whole Living

  • 1/2 c yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 egg

Apply mask after shampooing. Leave on for 20 minutes and then rinse with warm water.

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Hair Dressing – DIY Hair Conditioner You Can Eat – found on Whole Foods

  • 1 cup water

  • 4 sprigs of rosemary

  • 5-8 drops of rosemary essential oil

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1/4 of a lemon (optional; lemon can lighten hair if exposed to sunlight while mixture is on hair)

1) Bring the water to a boil. Add in 4 sprigs of rosemary and lower heat to simmer in a covered pot for 45 minutes.

 

2) Strain into a non-breakable mixing bowl let cool to a warm – not hot – temperature.

 

3) Once the rosemary-infused water is warm, whisk in remaining ingredients slowly and thoroughly.

 

Note: mixture will have a liquid consistency, so it’s best to head to the shower for application.

 

4) Apply mixture to dry hair and scalp, coating thoroughly either by pouring it directly on the hair from the roots or by dunking the strands into the bowl and working it upward with your hands.

 

5) Wrap hair into a bun and cover with plastic wrap to help contain the treatment and help it to penetrate the hair shaft.

 

6) Allow 30 minutes of “marinating” time and follow with shampoo.

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Healthy Microwave Popcorn Without the Bag!

Last night I went to bed early, curled up with a good book and realized I wanted something to snack on. I don’t like to buy packaged microwave popcorn as it’s loaded with unhealthy stuff but I knew I had loose kernel popcorn hanging around. Feeling lazy and not wanting to do it on the stove top I did a quick search to find a recipe using just a bowl and plate (microwave safe of course). I’m delighted to say it turned out oh so yummy!

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Microwave Popcorn Without the Bag! (recipe adapted from One Good Thing by Jillie)

  • 1/4 cup popcorn
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil (can omit if you’d prefer….I just like the taste)
  • Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt (or sea salt, I just like Himalayan salt)
  • A bowl (microwave safe)
  • A plate (microwave safe)

Instructions: Add the popcorn into the bowl (make sure the bowl is large enough to account for the popcorn popping and expanding). Mix with salt and oil. Place the plate on top so it seals the top. Place in microwave for about 2 min 45 seconds (this may differ depending on your microwave). Voila!

Just be careful when you take the plate off of the bowl once it’s done popping as it’s hot and the steam could burn!

Raw Kiwi Banana Tarts

For the past several weeks I’ve been on a very low sugar diet.  Why?  Well it’s just not good for you in so many ways! It’s been difficult for me however I’ve noticed some positive side effects already.  For one, my skin is clear. Yup, no breakouts.  Even though I’m in my early 30′s it’s unusual that I don’t have at least a pimple or two on my face.  And the second most noticeable benefit is my energy level.  I don’t seem to be crashing in the afternoon as I did when I was on my typical daily sugar consumption.  So although I’m watching it, it still doesn’t mean I don’t crave something sweet.  Which is what brings me to this post.  A dessert like this Raw Kiwi Banana Tart is perfect.  No added refined sugar, which is perfect!

For full recipe & instructions please visit The Kitchen Paper

Ingredients:

  • Dates
  • Raw nuts (such as walnuts, pecans or almonds)
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt Bananas
  • Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
  • Kiwis

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Coconut Vanilla Body Scrub

If you’re not someone who exfoliates year round, it’s good to at least do so in these warmer months so your exposed skin stays smooth and moisturized.  My favorite way to accomplish this is via homemade body scrubs.  With just a few simple ingredients I don’t have to worry if it contains something  harmful to my body.  And let’s face it homemade scrub is far cheaper!  I loved this one and will be honest, coconut and vanilla is a combination that’s pretty hard to beat in my book!

This recipe was adapted from Natural Vitality Living

Coconut Vanilla Body Scrub

Makes about 1 pint

  • 1 cup coarse sugar
  • t tsp real vanilla
  • 1/3 cup sea salt (I also like to use pink Himalayan salt)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil

Combine all ingredients until it’s the texture of wet sand and then store it in an airtight container (I like to use canning jars). Store at room temperature.

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Vegetable Bouquet

One of my wife’s favorite dishes is vegetables and dip, so I always make sure to have that on hand for the Mother’s Day celebration.  This year I wanted kick the vegetables and dip up a notch to see if I could make it more special.  In my search, I found some good examples on Hostess with the Mostess Blog that even has a nice video on some tips and techniques for making a really nice vegetable bouquet!  However, basically all you have to do is put your vegetables on bamboo skewers, and arrange them in a vase, or a homemade melon vase like this one from watermelon.org.  You can also check out Instructables for a very easy and fast way to make radish roses.

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Whipped Coconut Oil & Lime Body Butter

Coconut oil is a staple around our house.  We use it to cook and bake as well as for a moisturizer.  It smells divine and my favorite part is that it’s all natural and non-toxic.  In fact I can even eat it which makes me feel better putting it onto my skin & especially my 12 month old!  I love this simple little twist.  Not only would it be great for at home use but would make a fantastic gift!

To make it you’ll need:

1/2 cup coconut oil

20 drops of lime oil (or your favorite essential oil)

A jar (the volume will double so make sure you have a jar that will fit at least a cup)

Whip the coconut oil with an electric mixer until it becomes soft.  Once it’s soft add the oil.  Mix a bit more and voila! Just be sure to note the expiration date on the coconut oil and store it in a cool, dry place.  Most of all enjoy!

Recipe found on Blah Blah Magazine

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Fight Mosquitoes Naturally

I am not sure why, but mosquitoes don’t really bother me.  I’m not sure if that they don’t bite me, or if their bites just don’t really bother me.  My oldest son is the same way.  However, my wife and my youngest get obliterated by mosquitoes!  They get these huge welts, their faces blow up, and generally, it is just not a good time for them.  So, I love being outside in the warm weather, I love eating dinner outside, being in the woods, boating etc., but my wife and little one tend to shy away due to their adverse reaction to being bitten by mosquitoes.  So this year, I plan to spend a lot more time outdoors with my wife and little one!  I started researching good natural ways to keep the mosquito population down, and here is what I came up with:

  1. Bats:  Bats are one of the best ways to actually get rid of mosquitoes, not just keep them away.  One bat can eat up to 600 mosquitoes in a single hour! Here is a link to the bat house I have.  Plus, you will be doing the world a favor by giving bats a home.  They are on the decline, and need safe places to live!
  2. Marigolds:  Marigolds are easy to grow, and make a great border flower.  Plus skeeters hate the smell of them!  Get 500 seeds for $2.50 here!
  3. Tea Tree Oil:  Some people don’t like the smell, but I happen to enjoy it.  You can put it in a spray bottle with water, 1 part tea tree oil to 3 parts water, and spray it on.  Repels ticks too! You can buy it here, and get a free tea tree soap too!
  4. Mosquito Traps:  Mosquito traps are easy to make, and will trap and kill hundreds of mosquitoes.  But, if you are going to use a bat house, I would suggest leaving the mosquitoes for them, and skipping the trap.  Here is a link to an easy natural mosquito trap.
  5. Catnip:  Catnip is cheap and easy to grow.  But while you may be keeping the mosquitoes away, you may be inviting the neighborhood cats! Buy seeds here!
  6. Herbs:  Basil, lemongrass and rosemary are great additions to any herb garden.  Keep your herb garden in pots where you spend your time outdoors at your house, and you can keep the mosquitoes at bay while you’re at it!  At your next barbecue, try throwing some rosemary or sage onto the grill.
  7. Pyrethrum Daisies:  These I love!  They look great, and supposedly not only repel, but kill mosquitoes as well.  You can buy them here.
  8. Citronella Plant:  I have these in hanging baskets all over my deck.  Just give them a rub when you get outside, and they release their amazing mosquito repelling scent!  Buy one here.
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Bat House

 

 

DIY Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

There are so many things these days that are harmful to your health.  You don’t think of household cleaners as one of them!  I just recently learned that cleaners, especially the ones that come in spray bottles can be very harmful.  The ones in spray bottles are particularly bad because as you spray them, you are aerosolizing all of the chemicals, and breathing them in.  This is especially bad for little kids, and pets who have fragile lungs.  So, here is a recipe (very similar to the laundry soap recipe from last week) for an all natural cleaner that you can make for very cheap, that is very effective, and far better for your health.

  1. 2 cups hot water
  2. 2 tsp borax
  3. 2 tsp white vinegar
  4. 2 tsp baking soda
  5. 5-6 drops essential oil. (any flavor you want, I like lemon)

Just ad all of those ingredients together in a spray bottle, (you can reuse an old spray bottle from the store bought cleaners you used to use) shake it up, and use as you would a normal cleaner, on the stove, counter tops, the floor, etc.

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Photo from amybayliss.com