I’m not sure why I do this, I tend to disappear off the map for a while and then pop back in and post a whole bunch. My goal is to keep this blog active with all sorts of neat information, DIY, recipes, and more! I love to write so I may as well put that love to use! Expect much more to come, especially now that I have a laptop.
This summer has been abnormally hot here in the Seattle area, we have been breaking temperature and heat streak records left and right, and we also haven’t had any significant rainfall in over 45 days. Yes, you heard right. Seattle hasn’t had rain in almost 2 months. Crazy, I know. We have been dealing with hotter than normal temperatures for us, between 85-90 most days, which most Seattleites aren’t used to. I’m sure some of you are shaking your heads, thinking, wow, they are wusses. Just remember what we are used to…grey, cloudy, and rainy. With that in mind, we have been doing everything we can to stay cool, which means finding alternative ways to cook or recipes that don’t require cooking. I’ve also been trying my hand at canning on the cooler days, as well as a number of DIY projects. I have also been gardening this year, and it’s wonderful. Since I last blogged, we have purchased our first house and have a decent sized yard with beautifully established trees and plants, and I tore out a weedy patch next to the house to turn it into a container garden area, which turned out decently successful despite not having full sun. My dream would be to have my own homestead, so I’m attempting to do that on a smaller scale. We have two Silkie chickens who lay us adorable and tasty little eggs frequently which helps combat the rising price of store bought eggs due to the avian flu. The photo below is of our new yard, in late Spring.
I have also been doing survival prep and emergency prep, just in case. All this talk of earthquakes here on the west coast makes one a bit uneasy, so I’d rather be ready than not ready. I’ll touch more on that later, and explain what we have been doing little by little to prepare.
For now, I have to get ready to head out to my job, in which I am a line cook, so I have plenty of recipe ideas and whatnot to share. Give me a follow, leave a comment, etc! 🙂
As we all know, it’s been pretty darn cold this winter! I can’t say as much though, as some of you others can, I live in the Pacific Northwest and we’ve had some mild weather for the most part, although we are going through a cold snap right now, even seeing a few snowflakes today. Needless to say, cold brings chapped lips. I hopped online to try and find a recipe to make my own lip balm here at home, just for fun, and found this little goodie. Not too hard, and limited ingredients! Hubby and I are going to make some this afternoon. Give it a shot!
Lemon Lip Balm Tools
- double boiler or sauce pan and glass bowl
- eye dropper for essential oil
- wooden spoon
- grater that you don’t mind using only for beeswax
- small tins
Lemon Lip Balm Ingredients
- 3 tsp grated organic beeswax
- 5 tsp extra virgin coconut oil
- 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 10 drops lemon essential oil
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp dried lavender (optional)
- 1/4 tsp MAC pigment powder (optional)
- Grate the beeswax. Use a grater that you will only use for wax because it will be stuck there forever.
- Melt the beeswax, coconut oil, and olive oil together in the top of a double boiler. I just used a glass bowl set inside of a large saucepan and it worked perfectly. The wax melted within a few minutes.
- Remove from heat and mix in essential oil and any extra bits you want to add. I tried one batch with lavender and honey and one batch with pigment powder. I mixed my own shade of pink lip balm by experimenting with different shades of MAC pigment powders. If you add honey, stir thoroughly to combine properly.
- Pour the hot gooey wax into containers and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
(“Recipe” from LeLe Adams)(Photos Courtesy Amazon.com and Google)
Since we are on the topic of nuts, it seems, I figured I would share a neat little trick I learned of recently. I always thought that making nut butters, like peanut or almond, required time and oils, etc. Well, it’s really much more simple than that! This is a fantastic thing for people who really dislike extra oily peanut butter, or the people who really dislike the preservatives and other unnecessary stuff that companies put into the nut butters that are marketed these days. It’s frustrating, in my opinion, to pick up a jar of peanut butter, and see that 90% of it is an oily mess. This recipe for nut butters brings out the natural oils, with absolutely NO added ingredients whatsoever. So if there is any separating (the natural oils will sometimes separate from the butter), you’ll be happy and comforted to know that it’s not some random added oil with who knows what else in it.
All you need for this is whatever nut or nuts you would like to make into a butter, and a food processor. Not only is this super easy, but you can also add so much variety to it at the end. If you want a chocolate peanut butter, you can make it. If you want to add spices or something to it, you can! You can also used seasoned nuts to add flavor too. Honey roasted nuts make a fantastic butter, and so do BBQ roasted ones. Obviously BBQ roasted nut butter probably wouldn’t go too well with jelly for a classic PB&J, but hey, this is all about being creative!
Depending on how much butter you want to make, measure out your nuts. Once blended, they usually reduce down to about half the amount you originally started with. I used 3 cups of nuts, and ended up with about a cup and a half of butter at the end.
All you need is the nuts. No oils, no added salt, no water, nothing. Easy as can be.
Place the nuts into the food processor, and turn it on. This part is cool because you can watch as it processes the nuts first into a fine powder, and then into a big thick ball, and then you’ll see the natural oils from the nuts begin to release. As it does, the butter will start to take shape. It will start to get more smooth, like a normal peanut butter. This whole process usually takes about 3-5 minutes. After it is smooth enough for your liking, it’s done. It will probably be a little bit more runny than the peanut butter you are used to, but upon refrigeration (which is necessary because there are no preservatives in this butter), it will thicken up. Very rarely will you ever see any separating with this recipe, but if so, it will be easy to mix back together.
I tried using the mixed nut blend from Costco, and it turned out really good! It has cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, macadamias, etc. It was a little on the salty side, but will go fantastic with a sweet jelly!
For families with nut allergies, this could be a big lifesaver, being able to make butters at home, because they are WAY overpriced in the grocery store, in my opinion. You can make almond butter, cashew butter, etc. A 16oz can of nuts sold at the store is much cheaper than buying a jar of premade butter. If you have the five minutes it takes to throw it into a processor, why not try it?
Ever wondered what those nasty, unpronounceable chemicals are in your household cleaners? Yeah, me too. I have begun to follow a rule of thumb here in my home lately, if I can’t pronounce something in the ingredient list and it looks a bit scary, it’s probably best to put it aside and use something else. That goes for food products, cleaning products, and even bath and body products. Yeah, sure, I’m probably being a bit paranoid and over the top, but I want to make sure my unborn little man is safe and I’m not exposing myself to harmful chemicals or preservatives, or who knows what else might be out there.
I would like to share with you a few how-to’s on making your own household cleaning supplies. We have a wonderful shop at our local Country Village that is a wealth of knowledge on this type of thing, and they sell everything I could possibly need! I sure do hope you have a store near you that you can visit, both for resources and just to chat! Small shop owners like this are full of fantastic information. 🙂
(Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, above)
All-Purpose Cleaning Spray
- 32oz spray bottle
- 16oz purified or distilled water
- 16oz white distilled vinegar
- 20 drops (total) essential oils
Combine, and shake well! A fantastic combination of essential oils for this cleaner is Lemon or Lemon Myrtle, and Eucalyptus. Smells fantastic. You can use this on counter tops, and just about anywhere really!
Antiseptic Soap Spray
- 16oz spray or squirt bottle
- 15oz purified or distilled water
- 1oz Castile soap
- 20 drops (total) essential oils
Fill the bottle with water first, top it off with the castile soap, add the essential oils, and then shake well. Good antiseptic oils include Tea Tree, Niaouli, Eucalyptus, Thyme, Oregano, and Palmarosa. This spray is great to use on floors, laundry stains, kids toys, doorknobs, bathtubs, and more! You can also use it to clean up nasty problems like toilet overflows, etc. And best of all, you can even wash your hands with this one! Very versatile.
All Purpose Liquid Soap
- 12oz foamer bottle
- 12oz Castile Soap
- 10 drops (total) essential oils
Fill bottle with castile soap, add essential oils. This one is very simple. Some easy and cheap options for essential oils are lavender, peppermint, lemon, etc. This soap is fantastic for hand-washing, for hand-washing dirty dishes, and even as a body soap! It’s a good grease cutter too, you can use this first and then finish it off with the All-Purpose Spray from above!
Sink, Bathtub, and Tile Cleaner
- 16oz wide mouth jar with tight screw lid
- 1 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup Castile soap
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 2 Tablespoons white distilled vinegar
- 10-20 drops (total) essential oils
In a bowl, mix baking soda, soap, and water with a fork until smooth. After mixing these ingredients, THEN mix in the vinegar, THEN the essential oils. If you do this out of order, it will end up as a goo. Transfer to jar. You can use it right out of the jar with a cloth or sponge. If it dries out, mix in a tiny bit of water. After cleaning, if there is any baking soda residue remaining, whip out the All-Purpose Spray and it will clean it up right away.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- 16oz squirt bottle
- 1/3 cup Castile Soap
- 1 3/4 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
- 10-20 drops (total) essential oils
In a bowl, mix baking soda, soap and water with a fork until smooth. After mixing these ingredients, THEN mix in the vinegar, and THEN the essential oils. Again, if this one is done out of order as well, you will end up with goo. If it is too thick to funnel into a bottle, you may add a little water to thin it out. Good essential oils for this one are Lemon, Eucalyptus, and/or Pine. Shake well before using. Squirt the cleaner inside the toilet, and don’t forget to spray on and under the rim. Scrub with a toilet brush or rag. Rinse with the All-Purpose Spray if needed.
Scented Baking Soda
- Shaker Bottles, 6 or 8oz
- 1lb box baking soda
- 10 drops (total) essential oils
Mix baking soda and essential oils with a fork. Pour into shaker bottles, and place one in each bathroom or under each sink in the house.
(NOW essential oils, above)
Well, that’s all I have for you right now. But before we go, a bit about the Castile soap. Detergents are usually created from polluting petroleum. True liquid Castile soaps are made from basic vegetable oils which are a renewable and clean resource. Detergents tend to sud up wonderfully, but it takes a lot more rinsing, wastes water, and more importantly, your time! So, when you are looking for non-petroleum based soap, look for the words “vegetable oil based soap” or “Castile soap”.
Credit where it’s due;
- Recipes and information taken in part from Clean House, Clean Planet (Karen Logan)
- O’Malley and Porter Feel Good Products – Country Village, Bothell, WA
So lately I have been leaning toward all natural foods and making my own cleaning supplies, shampoos, detergents, and even lotions! I already posted my coconut oil lotion recipe on here, and that one I still use to this day, especially on my tummy to save me from those nasty pregnancy stretch marks (one can hope, right?).
With my son being born within the next 3 1/2 months, it makes me realize that our world has some NASTY stuff in our foods and health and beauty products. The amount of GMO’s and “icky” stuff in our foods today is shocking, like the use of pesticides, preservatives and artificial flavorings. I don’t want that in my system, and I certainly don’t believe that my son should be exposed to these products either, whether it be through me during my pregnancy or after he’s born.
With that in mind, I am beginning my search for all sorts of home DIY stuff. Soaps, candles, lotions, detergents, cleaners, etc. My hubby has extremely sensitive skin and can’t use soaps with glycerin or anything like that, so my first big task is to create a soap that doesn’t irritate his skin. I too have sensitive skin, but not quite to that extreme. I do anticipate our son to have sensitive skin too because of that though. I will be posting my findings here to share with any of you that read or follow my blog. And for those of you who do..thank you! I truly appreciate it. I realize I may not update every day, but that’s mainly due to my pregnancy brain right now. I forget even the simplest things! So bear with me, and hopefully I can share with you some wonderful and safe DIY recipes for the whole family.