Browsing Category: Health & Wellness

Use Vinegar To Kill Weeds

When we moved into our house a couple of years ago we inherited an amazing garden that somehow stayed weed free for years.  I’m not sure how the previous owner was able to pull that off, but it seems reign over the weeds has ended, much to my displeasure.  So, I am on a mission to maintain her legacy, and once again eradicate the weeds from our garden!  I’ve tried pulling them out, which works for some of the weeds, but others have roots that just don’t want to come out, and the tops just break off.  Then they just come right back.  This looks to be my best option so far, mostly all natural, with the exception of a small squirt of dish soap.  I found this recipe on Alternative Gardening, an amazing resource for gardening, gardening naturally, and gardening with kids.  Here is what they had to say:

Homemade Weed Killer

What you’ll need:

  1. 1 gallon of white vinegar
  2. 1/2 cup salt
  3. Liquid dish soap (any brand)
  4. Empty spray bottle

Put salt in the empty spray bottle and fill it the rest of the way up with white vinegar. Add a squirt of liquid dish soap. This solution works best if you use it on a hot day. Spray it on the weeds in the morning, and as it heats up it will do its work.

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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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Healthy 3 Ingredient Fudge Sauce

It’s almost ice cream season! Although I don’t indulge too often in traditional ice cream I do enjoy coconut milk varieties.  I’m not a big hot fudge sauce kind of gal but my husband loves a little atop his ice cream every now and then.  I love this recipe as it’s all natural, no refined sugar and even vegan.  Think it certainly worth a try!

You’ll Need: (get full recipe & instructions at Top With Cinnamon)

  • Dates
  • Almond or Cashew Milk
  • Baking Chocolate

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Sugar Scrub Cubes

I was trying to find a mother’s day present that I could help my boys make that my wife would really like.  We are running out of space for all of the art projects my kids create at home and at school, so I figured helping them make something she could use would be great!  My wife and I made sugar scrub for her sister’s baby shower favors, and she really loved using all of the leftover, which is now gone.  So, when I saw this, I knew she would love it, and my kids would be able to do almost all of the work to get it done!  I found these instructions on TheIdeaRoom.net, and here is what they say about the process:

Here is what you will need:

  1. Almond Oil or Coconut Oil (or oil of your choice)
  2. White Granulated Sugar
  3. Shredded Bar of Soap
  4. An Essential Oil (I used DoTerra’s Citrus Bliss)
  5. Mixing Bowl
  6. Spoon
  7. Microwave and possibly a double boiler
  8. A mold or a scoop

Sugar Scrub Cubes:

1/4 cup Almond Oil

1/2 cup Shredded Soap

3-4 drops of Essential Oil

1 cup Sugar

1.  Pour the oil into a bowl and add the shredded soap of your choice.  Microwave this on high for 10 second intervals stirring in between each.  If this does not work to slowly melt your soap into your oil you may have to melt the soap shaving in a double boiler.  (If you don’t have a double boiler like me, simply place a small bowl over a saucepan filled with boiling water).

2.  When the mixture is melted and and stirred together, add several drops of your Essential Oil.

3.  Get your mold ready to go before adding the sugar.  This is important because once the sugar is added the scrub will harden VERY quickly.

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4.  Pour in sugar and stir quickly.  Take mixture and place it into your molds with your fingers.  Or…if you don’t have a mold you can take a scoop and make rounded sugar “cubes”.

5.  Let cubes harden by popping them into the freezer for at least 30 minutes.  Then pop them out of the mold and cut them into fourths depending on the size you would like them to be.

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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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Frozen Banana Popsicles

I love frozen treats on a hot day.  The store bought ones can taste great but often come with a lot of refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup so around our house we love to make them ourselves.  I found this recipe recently and thought it sounded amazing.  Bananas, dark chocolate and coconut….what’s not to love?!

Frozen Banana Popsicles

You’ll Need:

  • Bananas
  • Chocolate
  • Shredded Coconut (toasted)
  • Popsicle Sticks

Full recipe & instructions found on Whole Foods Market

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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.
BatHouse

Bat House

 

 

Fruit Tacos with Chocolate Tortillas

Let me start by saying that I looooove fruit salad, and I don’t think anything needs to be done to it to make it more exciting.  However, from an entertaining standpoint this homemade chocolate tortilla really takes the fruit salad up to a whole other level.  This is a healthy delicious summertime dessert that kids and adults will love.  I think there are probably a lot of other fun dessert dishes to be made with these chocolate tortillas as well!  Please share your ideas in the comments section!  So, this recipe was found on SheKnows.com who suggests this as a breakfast dish!  I love that idea too.  Here is the recipe from SheKnows.

ngredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 small papaya
  • 1 mango
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 2 kiwis
  • Juice from one lime

Directions:

Step one

In a large bowl combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk all the ingredients to combine.

Step two

Add coconut oil, agave nectar and warm water to the bowl of dry ingredients.

Step three

Mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon until a large ball of dough forms.

Step four

Transfer the ball of dough to a floured work surface and knead the dough for five minutes, adding additional flour if the dough becomes too sticky to handle.

Step five

Cut the ball of dough in half and roll both pieces back into a ball. Continue to cut the balls of dough in half until you have 16 even pieces. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Step six

Transfer one ball of dough to a floured work surface and roll the dough into a circle that is one- quarter inch thick and about five inches in diameter.

Step seven

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Do not add oil to the pan because the tortillas need to be cooked on a dry surface. Once the skillet is hot, add the rolled out dough and cook for 30 seconds.

Step eight

Flip the tortilla and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Repeat until all of the dough has been used and you have 16 cooked tortillas. Transfer the tortillas to a plate lined with a damp paper towel.

Step nine

Wash all the fruit for the fruit salad. Measure blueberries, chop strawberries, peel and dice kiwis, dice mango, remove the seeds from papaya and peel the skin. Dice the papaya into bite-sized pieces and place all of the fruit in a dish. Drizzle the fruit with the juice of the lime.

Step ten

To serve, place one chocolate tortilla on a serving plate.

Step eleven

Add a handful of blueberries, several pieces of diced kiwi, a few pieces of chopped mango, several pieces of diced papaya and a handful of strawberries to the center of one chocolate tortilla.

Step twelve

Top the fruit with additional toppings of your choice. Chocolate sauce, shredded coconut, fresh mint and honey all work wonderfully.

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No Bake Chocolate Chip Chunks

I’m always in the market for a tasty, healthy, homemade snack.  When 3 pm hits I often find myself wanting to reach for the unhealthy sweets which is why I try to keep better options around.  This recipe sounds like it fits the bill.  I’ve made a few notes below regarding some revisions I’m likely to make.
Full Recipe & Instructions found on Including Cake.
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Chocolate Chip Chunks

 

 

What You’ll Need:

 

 

50g cashews or almond

 

100g dates (I also thought figs might be nice in place of dates…depending on your preference)

 

20g cacoa nibs (or good quality dark chocolate chips/chunks)

 

Up to 10g ground oatmeal (only if mixture is too sticky)

 

1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder (or almond extract)

 

Pinch sea salt

 

1 tbs maca powder (this is optional….I think I might add a tbs of chia seeds instead)

 

 

Method:

 

Chop the nuts up coarsely and set aside for later use.

 

In a food processor, blend the dates until they form a paste. Add all the remaining ingredients and pulse to fully combine however maintaining coarse chunks. You should have a sticky mixture at this point.  From here you can form bars by pressing the mixture into the bottom of a baking dish or mini loaf pan.  Allow this to chill and firm up before slicing.