Monday, December 17, 2012

Shepherds pie and garlic dip


The other day I was reading a book and the grandma made Shepherds Pie. I love Shepherds pie soooooo much! So of course the book made me want to eat some (this has happened before with spaghetti. lol) So, I looked up a recipe, got the gist of it, Mashed potatoes over veggies and ground meet in a gravy. So I threw some goat and sheep's cheese and lots of cream and garlic in the mashed potatoes, and added some yummy spices to the gravy, and wallah!

Shepperds Pie:
Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 20 min
  • 2 ibs of potatoes, pealed and cubed,
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup of cream
  • 1/4 cup of manchego cheese
  • 1/4 cup of creamy goat cheese or cream cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • salt and pepper
Boil the potatoes, drain and mash. mix all the rest of the ingredients except the cheese and garlic with the potatoes. Stir in the cheese and garlic. You can put some of the manchego on top of the potatoes once the whole pie is put together.

The filling:
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 pound of  ground meat, beef, lamb, mutton, turkey whichever you prefer 
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1/4 cup of flour or cornstarch
  • 2 cups of beef or chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp of rosemary 
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 cups of frozen veggies (carrots, peas, green beans, and corn)
  • a couple dashes of paprika and salt and pepper to taste
Cook the meat and onions in the butter in a cast iron skillet. Add in the flour or cornstarch and stir it in, then add in the broth. You may need to add in more flour. Add in everything else and let cook on medium till the gravy is thickened. Put the mashed potatoes on top, and if you want cheese then that too. Sprinkle with some paprika and parsley. Broil until the top gets golden and a bit crispy. You can always use a casserole dish if you would like.

 This dip is supper easy to make. mix 1/2 cup of Whole Fat yogurt and creamy goat cheese (can use cream cheese if you don't like goat cheese) with 1/4 to cup of fresh chopped parsley, and 2 to 4 garlic cloves minced. Add in 1/4 cup of olive oil and pepper to taste. If you want a Mexican or Indian flavor use cilantro instead of parsley and put in a squeeze of lime. (my cousin used cilantro and lemon juice and it was so yummy!) This dip is supper good for you. The garlic and partly (parsley has vitamin c) help to fite colds and the olive oil is just plane all around awesome for you.

And now... Sputnik!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Balsamic Orange Chicken


This chicken is so yummy! I fried it in coconut oil which gave it such an amazing flavor, without the sauce! Then when I added the sauce, oh my goodness! Incredible! I used balsamic vinegar instead of rice wine vinegar, and I loved the sweetness and the extra complexity that I got from it. I also highly suggest that you use it in sweet and sour sauce (another supper easy recipe). For this recipe you can use boneless and skinless chicken, or take of the meat and use the scraps to make a yummy broth for a soup later. 

Balsamic Orange Chicken
Serves 4 (or 2 hungry teens). 
Prep time, 10-15min
Cook time 10 min in total 
The Chicken:
  • 2 Ibs of chicken cut into cubes. (if you use bone in, get at least .5ibs more)
  • 2 cups of flour (you may need more, Pamela's baking mix works good for gluten free)
  • 1 to 2 eggs
  • a bit of salt and pepper about 1/4 tsp
  • Oil for frying. I used coconut in my walk, but peanut would work, or if you want a nutty flavor use sesame. 
Put chicken in egg, then flour and fry in a wok or pan with high sides in batches at 375 until golden and crispy.

For the sauce:
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 orange juiced and zested 
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar 
  • 3 Tbsp of soy sauce (for gluten free use Tamari)
  • 1 Tbsp of molasses 
  • 1/3 cup of honey (use 1 cup of brown sugar in place of honey and molasses if desired.)
  • 1 Tbsp of ginger root minced. (I like a strong ginger flavor so use less if desired)
  • 1-3 cloves of garlic, depending on how strong you like it.
  • Asian hot sauce, however much you like.
  • 1/4 cup of corn starch mixed with 1/4 cup of cold water
Mix everything together but the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Add in the cornstarch mixture slowly, until it thickens nicely. Use on the side, or poor over chicken. You can also get fancy and toss the chicken with the sauce together in a bowl until everything is evenly coated. Serve with a salad  rice, millet, or quinoa, or just eat! Lastly, enjoy your meal. :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Low Tea, and book swap


I didn't get around to doing a video tutorial, no surprise their, but I have something even better! Low Tea treats!!! Low tea is held around 1-3 the typical time for the wealthy who don't go to work, wear as High tea is held around 6 with dinner for the working class who get off of work at that time.
 
We had  a simple chi tea, and a cinnamon orange rooibos blend. I used cream instead of half and half (which is homogenized and absolutely terrible for the body).

We had blueberry lemon scones, orange cranberry salad, turkey open faced sandwiches, and a delicious quiche made by my cousin.

Since all our beautiful flowers are gone I used some fake flowers that actually look quite nice  and I put them in a mason type jar with a flip lid.
The lovely quiche. 
Us ladies have a bit of an affinity to hot sauce.


We also discussed the books we had read the month before, and traded for some new books to peruse.
This is the book that I am borrowing. I haven't started reading it ye, but I am looking forward to this collection of short stories.
Now for the Recipes!
The Sandwiches were so easy. Great harvest has Stuffing bread right now so I sliced that and put cream cheese on it, some homemade cranberry sauce that I pureed in the blender, and some turkey slices. You can change this by using mayo and by putting pickled red onions on too. If you don't have access to the bread then a whole wheat will work great. So Yummy and easy either way! 

The cranberry sauce is supper easy, 1 cup of water and 1/3 cup of honey in a small pot. Bring to a boil and add 4 cups of cranberries. Bring back to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Now you can add orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, nuts, blueberries, or something else, or nothing else. For the two recipes that I used it for in this blog I din't add anything else.

The Orange and cranberry salad was just 4 oranges sliced, and about 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce with the cranberries still mostly in tacked. (As in Not Pureed and not that canned jelly kind). Mix the two together, and their you go. Now that I think about it though, It would have bean nice to put a cinnamon stick in with the cranberries while they cooked.

For the scones I used a recipe from a blog Be book bound. I did alter it, so this is my little twist, and I also didn't have the sugar to I didn't do the topping I made my own up instead.

  • 2 1/4 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • about 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 1/4 cup of cubed and cold butter
  • 1/4 cup of non hydrogenation shorting, chilled.
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup of water (easier to keep on hand than buttermilk)
  • 1 egg
  • Zest from 1 Lemon plus a bit of juice, about 1/8 of a cup
  • about a cup of frozen blueberries (if you use frozen too, don't dethaw them or they will make your scones all weird, the same goes for muffins)
Preheat your oven to 400. sift all the dry ingredients. Add the butter and shortening and cut it in by hand or with a food processor. Just like making pie. Mix the wet ingredients and combine with the dry. Fold in the berries. Put on a buttered baking sheet and form into a squareIsh shape. You'll want it to be about 1/2 in tall. With a nice knife, cut into squares but leave them in place. Bake for about 25 to 30 min. When you pull them out let them cool for 5 min, then re-cut, will be so easy, you might not even need to. After they have cooled completely drizzle some glaze on 'em.

For the glaze:
Mix juice from 1/2 a lemon with 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar till smooth. Now add in 1/8 cup of cream cheese to the mix. (you can add more if you like) It is easiest to mix with a fork. You may need to add some water, about 1/4 cup so that it is the consistency of thin to medium paste, depending on what you like. I like mine thicker because it stays on the scones nicer. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My bag: natural and handy products


It seems so silly to me to post about what I keep in my bag/purse. I mean, why would I want to show people all the boring stuff that everyone keeps in their purse. But I decided that I would share my essentials that I keep in my bag at all times because some of them are, in my opinion, quite helpful. 

All of my bags are either vintage (above) or big earth friendly totes that I keep my embroidery and what not in. I love my wallet. It doubles as a clutch. It opens up like a wallet, but it also snaps open on each side that I can fit everything but my nook and notebook in, including my phone, this makes it so that I can take everything with me that I need out and be all fancy dancy. 
I like to use my bag (I usually use a fair trade bag that fits over my shoulder more comfortably) because it is easier to carry that way. I have a larger notebook and a smaller notebook that I interchange  I usually have my nook (I'm so addicted, haha) and a ponytail, you just never know when you need to but your hair up. I always have a bit of first aid because, well, I injure myself quite often. i have band-aids, Clean well alcohol-free hand sanitizer, Hemp-Eaze that I use like neosporin. It works so AMAZING!!! 
I like to keep lavender oil and a blend of clove and peppermint oil in a roll on in my bag. The roll on I put about 20 drops of clove and peppermint oil in and fill it the rest of the way with almond oil. I use this for basically any aches and pains and headaches. 
I usually have either a 100% pure lip gloss or some sort of chap stick like Terra Tints or Burts Bees. I also keep a shaker with my veggy supplement in my bag to sprinkle on food. You can dry greens from your garden and crush them up and use that as a supplement in the winter so that you can get plenty of greens. I like to use hankies simply because I like them better and the one above goes really well with my purse. It comes in handy for all sorts of things, such as spray off a table at a park and use one side to wipe it off and the other as a place mat, it is better on your wallet and the planet than using wet wipes. 
Other things that I like to keep in my bag are a small tape measurer, a water bottle, some sort of snack like dried fruit, and a nifty little fold up brush that comes in so much handy. If I'm going to be out for a long time I might bring along a makeup compact.. maybe. It is so easy to find natural products for your purse. If you go to a natural grocery store then chances are just standing in the sales line you'll find most everything you need.
My cat decided to get in on the action and I couldn't resist putting her in here. :D

Monday, November 5, 2012

Delicious beets and eggplant.

Howdy doody! I am so awake, it's crazy. I actually slept until about 9:30 because oddly my chickens stayed quiet. And then after I did dishes and laundry I decided to make coffee with my new french press. It's actually really easy. I figured it would be, and I like it a lot better than those complicated machines. (I know what your thinking, but for someone who drinks coffee like 3 times a year, they are complicated to try and figure out.) I have some supper yummy cream from grass fed cows (I know, cows not goats. But hay! I can't control when the goats are pregnant!) so I decided to pour some it. I usually like my coffee black, but I needed to use up the cream, plus with the cream in it pares a bit better with this awesome chocolate. Unfortunately its only 55% cocoa (I like baking chocolate. So Yummy!) but the Ancho and Chipotle chilies and dried cherries make up for it. Plus they wrap them in love poems, awwwwww. 

 Yesterday at about 6 I started dinner. I was just going to fry up the eggplant that I had, my husband likes to eat them like french fries dipped in mustard and ketchup, he likes them basically any way, but that's the easiest. I fry them in a batter like fried chicken in a bit of olive oil in a pan.  But, about halfway through I decided to use up the zucchini and bell pepper that I had. I was being to lazy to clean up the dishes, so I didn't have enough room to batter the eggplant, so they were going to be kind of plane. I ended up making this fancy dancy thing that tasted so good! i normally don't like zucchini at all, and I only sort of like eggplant, but MAN! This was GOOOD STUFF! The side veggies are sauteed with a bit of butter and olive oil, and molasses. They tasted like roasted beets but tool way less time to cook.

Eggplant baked in a Bechamel sauce served with zucchini, bell pepper, and beets.
Serves 4. Active time is about an hour, inactive time about 3 hours depending.

  • 2 large eggplant sliced to a width of 1/2 inch and with the bitters drained. (slice them and put a couple layers of paper towel between them to remove the bitter juices. This will take from about 1 hr to 3 hrs)
  • olive oil, for frying. (do this at a lower heat. If you want to fry them faster use grape seed oil)
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 1/4 cup of flour. Either white wheat, spelt or rice flour or cornstarch. (I have never tried anything else to thicken a sauce, but I know that these work great.)
  • 2 1/2 cups of milk
  • 4 to 8 cloves of garlic minced
Preheat an oven to 350. Fry the eggplant in oil of choice for 2-3 minutes on each side. Layer them in an 8 inch baking dish with the garlic and some salt and pepper. In a saucepan melt the butter and combine the flour with it. Let it get a bit brown then slowly whisk in the milk. Let it thicken and bubble a bit then pour over the eggplant. You can either season the sauce with salt and pepper or put some Parmesan or Asiago cheese in it. About 1/4 cup of cheese if you choose to do this, I went with the salt and pepper instead. If you want you can also put some cheese on top. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is bubbly and a bit golden.

Beets and Zucchini: even if you dont like zuccini you will love this.
  • Six medium zucchini
  • 4 beets
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 4 tsp of molasses or maple syrup
  • 2 tsp of fructose or sugar (it actually seemed to need this even with the sweetness of the beets)
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup of cilantro chopped. you can always use parsley if you don't have cilantro. 
  • Feel free to add any Swiss Chard or other type of green sliced into ribbons.
  • salt and pepper
Slice the zucchini and beets thinly, about 1/8th of an inch or thinner if you can manage it. A mandolin works great for this. slice the bell pepper fairly thinly. Put everything in a saute pan reserving the cilantro and other greens. When the butter melt mix it all together, you want everything to be a bit purple. Put the lid on and cook until the beets are easily pokeable. Add the cilantro and if you chose to have greens put those in now also, saute until the greens are easily chewed. Serve with the eggplant dish. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

October

 I'm going to have a couple tutorials sometime this week, one on making sauerkraut, and another on either making quill pens or a fabric dying diy, and possibly both with video. Frankly I'm astonished that I'm actually thinking about doing something so involved with my blog. My slacker self aside, their have actually bean some fun stuff happening around my little homestead!
I made Sauerkraut with my mom. We also made another batch yesterday with red beets instead of the golden ones. So pretty! 

Why did our chickens cross the road, to vises with the neighbor chicken of course!  The chickens in my neighborhood are all very friendly with each other. My neighbor down the street's chickens also like to go over to my neighbor's house to visit with his chicken.

I have bean working on some collagy things that are pretty fun

This is now officially my favorite soap. It smells so good and  makes my skin so soft. It is scented with essential oils so it doesn't bother my nose or head. :) Also it's only about $4, and for me that's about $1.50 a moth for a bar of soap, an I use it quite liberally. 

The cat and chickens keep having all these face offs, ware they both end up running away in fear.  I am rolling my eyes at Isabella, she is such a city cat! I suppose I should be glad she isn't eating my chickens. lol

I painted some awesome shorts. Their are all sorts of diy's for this kind of fabric painting this is my favorite, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aZ2ri_EDaI

We celebrated my grandma's birthday with muffins from farmers market (and cupcakes)  and tea for breakfast. Then we went to an alternative health fare at Barns and Noble's. Later we had pie from farmers market and goat milk ice cream. 


I have bean enjoying this awesome weather, sitting in my rocking chair. Oh, and those are a pair of my new glasses. 
We went to goblin valley in Utah. It was my first time camping in a tent and I loved it! 

Sputnik decided to climb into the bike trailer. 

This is my first ever white lasagna! I put greens and things from the garden into it. 
Jacob was the Brawny man for holloween. 

I was some space princess person, I'm still not quite sure exactly. 

My chickens are becoming ugly. This was from yesterday. This morning when I went to feed them, they had so many more patches. Sad, so sad. But, they need to molt so that they can be warm for winter. 

And I found out that my husband is obsessed with arcade games. He even likes watching people play them on You Tube. Sometimes he amazes me with he things he likes.
Happy Fall Back everyone! I hope you enjoyed that extra hour of sleep that I didn't get because my chickens demanded to be fed. At least I finally got something posted for once. Don't forget that tutorials are coming up within the next week!!!!! Yay!

And Here are some supper cool you tube channels that I follow. Most of them are nerdy, but I really like expanding my mind when I watch videos.

This one is about how trees get water up so high. by 1veritasium 

by minutephysics

You live in the past, by vsauce. This is my favorite, they have all sorts of neat things.

Death of Yolo by bball1989

Elements- Dubstep Violin- Lindsey Stirling by lindseystomp





Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Young Blood and making your own Makeup




My mom just came to my house and brought over some goodies from the beauty supply store! Since she is a cosmetologist and of coarse has her licence she gets to be supper special and get beauty products at supper awesome wholesale prices. Not only are the prices great, but they oftentimes get products before other places. So, back to the story. My mom came buy with some supper awesome sparkly hair ties, AND, here is the best part, Facial Powder!!!!! We have both bean out of foundation because 100% pure has bean out for quite a wile so we have bean using MyChelle instead. The ingredients aren't bad and we can get it at our grocery store. But it is a cream, and I don't like it as much. I have bean needing to use some of my old loose powder over it so that I get a bit better coverage and a better finish. This is where the finishing powder from Young Blood mineral cosmetics comes in. I used it just now all by itself and it worked almost just as good as regular foundation, for my needs anyway, and I can get it cheaper. (If you have a SalonCentric and know someone with some sort of beauty license you can get it for a bit less than half the price.) It doesn't cover up my "blemishes" quite as well, but I need to use cover up with any foundation anywise. I figure, that if I just use a moisturizer underneath or if I really need some long lasting coverage use a light amount of my MyChell foundation and then applying the Young Blood Finishing powder.

 I know your probably thinking whats so great about this product. Well I'll tell you. First of all it is only like $15 with my mom buying it, and secondly, it has AMAZING ingredients. By amazing I mean the bestist most awesomestly Amazing ingredients EVER! I'm not sure about the ingredients in some of their products. Some of them sound a bit shady. However the setting powder has a whole bunch of great extracts and other such skin awesomeizing stuff in it. It smells so good! Also it is a lot less than many foundations. The 100% pure foundation is about the same price, but until that returns, I'm gonna stick to this. The ingredients are something that I can make for really cheap, but I don't have any of the extracts or anything, and I need some more oxides. (They do have it at sephora, so if your lucky enough to have one I suggest you stop buy and check it out.) You can get the actual foundation for on $30 on Amazon which is pretty cool.

If you do want to make your own foundation here are some basic recipes that I like experimenting with.

Tinted setting powder or foundation:
Various types of iron oxides, browns, yellows, and reds. I get these for painting (making your own paint is so much fun!) so I just took what I had to mix and match.
You can add some Ultramarine pigment and mica also but isn't necessarily needed.
Rice flour

Only get a small amount (you will most likely need to order the pigment online) of various colors so that you can get the right color for you, but make sure you have enough probably at least 20 grams if not a bit more just in case. About 50% of the mixture should be from the rice flour. Give it a whirl in a food processor or use a mortal and pestle. Keep mixing until you get the perfect shade. This way you can leave out any bad ingredients and you get to change your foundation as your skin color changes with the seasons.

You can use your extra pigments to make blush, lip gloss and eye shadow.

Make your own Lip Gloss:

  • 1tbsp of Alo Vera gell
  • 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1/8 tbsp of vitamin E oil
  • A drop or two of essential oil it you want flavor. (You might want to mix your oil with a vegetable oil first if it is a hot oil like mint or cinnamon)
  • Earth pigments, basically what you use for your foundation but you get to play around with more colors. You can also melt down some of your lipstick in with the coconut oil if you want that exact color, or use some eye shadow or blush you have on hand. I also like beat powder or juice as a coloring. 
Mix well, and apply. Keep in an old lip balm container. If you want sun protection you can add some zinc and/or titanium oxide. It may make your lips look a bit odd though but adding pigment should help.

To make Eye Shadow:
Basically it is just a bit of rice flour with earth pigment (includes oxides) and mica. mix in a small food processor or with a mortar and pestle.

To make blush:
This is just like making foundation, only you want to use only red pigments mostly. if you want it to be a bronser  make your foundation but make it a shade or two darker and put some mica in it for sparkle.

For a natural mascara, just empty out an old mascara bottle really well and fill it with alovera and if you want a bit of vitamin E oil. Coconut oil would work too. Just sweep it on. If you want it to be colored add some eye shadow and rice flour, enough that it will form a peek when you lift you mixing tool out of the mixture, then put in a mascara container. The colored mascara wont go into a mascara container as easily. What I find that work's best is to keep it in a separate container. Put your mascara wand into the colored mascara and then push the wand into the original container and take it out so that you don't have a big glob of mascara.

If you want a kit for mineral foundation their is one at Amazon HERE. The base has titanium and zinc oxide (the least harmful way to have sunscreen) which I wouldn't use and just use rice flour instead. But then again my 100%pure foundation has them in it but I don't like how it makes my face stay lighter as the rest of me tans. That is actually my only complaint I have ever had with any of their products. However it really isn't that noticeable I just need to use foundation that is a bit lighter.

Have fun and don't be afraid to let out your creative genius!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Herbivoracious, vegetarian cookbook



I must tell you about my new favorite cookbook! It is called Herbivoracious, and it is by Michael Natkin. The recipes are so yummy! If you are thinking, I'm not a vegetarian, I wont want that. Well, if you like incredibly delicious food then you are wrong, you do want it! I don't mean to sound pushy about this, but it is such a fresh take on vegetarian food, that it is now a go to cookbook in my kitchen along with Ad Hoc at Home, by Thomas Keller, and my Good Eats cookbook. So ya, this is epic. Their is Native American, Mexican, Indian, and so many more flavors incorporated into these recipes. I highly suggest you go here and check out his online recipes, then go here and consider buying the book. Go Here for some pictures of recipes in the book.
I suppose that's enough crazy cookbook lady for one day. Time to go make lunch! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

The safe and toxin free home: Beauty care

Everybody likes to look be clean, look and feel their best, and smell good. Well, what if the products that you think are making you clean are really harming your skin and making your liver and various organs dirty by overloading them with toxic chemicals? What if the products that make you look "good" and give you confidence making our feel good, are really making your organs look not so good making you feel tired, cranky, unbalanced, dizzy and just plain old bad. What if the products that make you "smell good" are actually giving you those chronic headaches, making you sneeze and are causing asthma.  If your beauty prodocts contain Triclosan, SlES, SLS, Petrolatum, PEG compounds, Fragrance, Parabens, Formaldehyde, Dibutyl phthalate, DEA, MEA, TEA, Cyclomethicone, Siloxanes, Coal Tar Dyes, BHA, BHT and many, many,many others. (further reading on chemicals go here to thegreenbeautyguide.com) These chemicals can cause Asthma, skin burns, cancer, brain disorders, dizziness, alzheimers, toxicant to the immune system, and the list goes on, and on. 

Here is an interesting video.

It is so easy to make many of or your own beauty products. Some are a bit more time consuming than others. I love making my own facial masks and face and body scrubs. Toners are also super easy to make. I prefer buying the other stuff, but that's just me. If you have a lot of time on your hands lotion is easy to make and you get to customize your own personal scent. My favorite beauty recipe books are Return Beauty and EcoBeauty. Return to beauty even has food recipes to make you beautiful from the inside out. They both have a wide array of products to make that are so easy. 


Here are my beauty recipes. They work for all skin and hair types. 

Dulse Hair rinse. 
This Hair rinse makes my hair so clean. It get rid of all the build up on my scalp, and makes it shiny, soft, and easy to comb. 
In a mason jar fill up about a couple of inches with Apple cider vinegar (don't substitute any other vinegar) and put in a couple tbsp of Dulse (ground up sewed) Put on the lid and shake. While in the shower fill the jar up with about 1/2 cup of water. After you shampoo your hair lightly put the hair rinse in and let it set while you finish your shower routine.Then rinse well. Don't worry if you don't get all the dulse out. It blends in fine with the hair, and comes out when you brush it (after it is dry). It may take another shower to get it all out, but it is so worth it! Your hair will be so happy. 

Oatmeal cookie face wash. 
Equal parts dried goats milk and oatmeal flower (add some oats that you ground in your food processor for more exfoliation). Put a Tbsp of the mixture in your palm, and add a bit of water so that it is a smooth, runny paste. Rub gently with your fingertips in circular motions on your pre-moistened face. Works good, smells good and cheep. 

Yogurt and honey face mask:
Yogurt takes away dead skin cells, and the honey is antibacterial. They combine to create one amazing zit fighting, skin softening mask! Combine equal parts honey and plain yogurt. Apply to face and let it set for 10 to 20 minutes. Then wash of with a warm washcloth. While you wait add some vanilla and chopped nuts or fruit to the leftovers, and enjoy. 

Facial scrub:
1/4 cup of honey with jojoba beads and cherry extract and powder is my favorite. But for something a bit more easy to obtain, use 1/4 cup of sugar plus 1tbsp of almond oil. The honey with jojoba beads work better for me because my skin tends to be a bit oily. 

Green tea toner:
Green tea in a spray bottle, sprayed on your face. Tightens up the skin. (plus, no drying alcohol!)

Body scrub:
1/2 cup of salt. 1/4 cup of olive, almond, avocado, or sesame oil. 5 to 10 drops of essential oil of choice. For a cooling and cold fighting scrub do eucalyptus and peppermint. For a spicy sweet scrub try cinnamon and vanilla. If you want something that goes with your lotion, add the essential oil that is in the name of the products to your scrub. Such as Lavender=lavender, A forest lotion=pine and or cedar.  Easy and fun.

For my makeup I use 100% pure. Made up of fruits, veggies, and grains. I use'd to use mineral makeup, but many of them have chemicals similar to arsenic in them, and the loos powders are not good for your lungs. 100% pure also has lotions, shampoos, soaps, etc. They are cruelty free and use organic ingredients. I like the idea of being able to eat it, and for it to actually be good for me. (not that I actually eat it. ha!) Their mascara dosn't work very well for me, so I use the shear miracles brand. It is more expensive than other brands, but for me it is worth it. Her makeup is a mineral brand that isn't harmful. Another mineral makeup that isn't harmful is afterglow

I also use shear miracles for my shampoo. Their is nothing bad in it at all. It takes some getting used to, because it doesn't strip your hair of all the natural oils. It actually levees some so that your hair is healthy. Oil is good for my hair? YES! IT IS! Who would have thunk it? 

For shaving cream and body wash I use African Black soap from my local health foods store. It also works for shampoo for all hair and skin types. Conditioner works great for shaving cream also, but the African Black soap is cheaper. 
For lotion, I use sesame oil, or MSM lotion. (you can get MSM lotion at therawfoodworld.com) MSM also has shampoos, soaps, sunscreen etc. 

For sunscreen I use a big hat, and coconut oil (which has a 5 spf). Sunscreens are very harmful and odly enough can cause cancer. I recommend that if you absolutely must ware sunscreen, to use MSM or Badger brands. They both have zinc oxide which isn't great, but is a much better alternative to the other brands. (If you know of any other brands that are good I would love to know!) On a dietary note, if you eat raw vegan,  then you shouldn't get sunburned. My mom did this diet a couple years back and she, who burns like leaf didn't get sunburned at all. If you ware Linen clothing then that works great. I like to ware a loos fitting thin, linen long sleeved shirt if I need to be outside for a long time. 

Wellness should start at home. So why not consider what you put on yourself every morning. You know you love trying new shades of lipstick, and new lotions, so why not give it a try? If you don't think you can afford it, try Sally hansen makeup. It is definitely not the best, but a bit better than most with cheaper prices. (I couldn't find the ingredients listed online, but their are no parabens, which is a plus) Then again, buying makeup that is more expensive is cheaper than hospital bills. Just a bit of food for thought. Have fun exploring new beauty products! 
Gorgeously GreeCheat sheet to bring with you when you go shopping. 
This website has a list of other websites that have helpful resources and information. gardenofbeauty.net

Monday, September 17, 2012

The safe and toxic free home: cleaning supplies

First things first. Why dose anyone need so many different types of cleaning supplies? Personally I have no space for that many in my world. All I need is baking soda, vinegar, borax, olive oil, rubbing alcohol, various types of essential oils and herbs. and dish soap (castile soap is great, I just don't use it enough so it take up too much space for me. lol). All of those things are multi-taskers both for cleaning and other uses, like making tasty food, get rid of bee stings, help with burns, cuts and other ailments. Basically, my medicine cabinet, and cleaning supply can be kept in my kitchen. With the exception being that I would keep the borax, baking soda, and alcohol up higher if any kiddos came over. But you really shouldn't need to keep it up way high, just high enough that a four year old or so cant get to it easily. The borax and baking soda can only cause problems if ingested in high, HIGH quantities, and over a period of time. Messes with ph and things. Still, they are so much safer than bleach, ammonia or other awful cleaning products. 

The typical household has 3 to 25 gallons of toxic materials most of which are found in cleaning supplies  Toxic cleaners can cause burns to the eyes, skin, throat and the esophagus. Also, cancer, hormone disruption, decreased fertility, increased birth defects, and respiratory problems. If you mix bleach with your toilet bowl cleaner you could be releasing toxic gases, the same goes for anything that you mix to combine bleach and ammonia, or chemicals that react similarly with these chemicals. No law requires that manufacturers list their ingredients on labels or to test their product for safety. "While cleaners are the only household products regulated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission under the Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act, their sellers aren’t required to reveal these products’ ingredients. These ingredients are considered “trade secrets,” so government regulations are actually designed to protect this proprietary information, not to protect human health or the environment." (life.gaiam.com)

I put vinegar in a spray bottle with some water and use it as a multi-purpose cleaner. The studies done on this wonderful substance have bean rather, well, vague. They will say that it kills about 80% of germs, but this is without studying it fully, or very well. Where as bleach has had extensive tests done on it. But, seeing as how bleach causes respiratory problems, cancer and brain damage I would rather go with an 80% killer that I can add some essential oil or peroxide to if I want a super germ killer, than a 99.9% germ killer that also kills me. Another thing is, that bleach also kills the good bacteria, where as the vinegar, who dose kill e-coli also leaves those good for you bacteria. When I need to cut up a chicken (which is, um well, never, but I did at my moms before I was married) I scrub my cutting board with salt and spray it with vinigar to wipe it down. I also wash it off under hot water. But I alwaise wash my cutting boards to get rid of odors and such from garlic and such that can transfer to apples and other foods. If you need to whiten a cutting board, start cleaning it with hydrogen-peroxide. Killd germs very well, and can lift away stains. Baking soda also works great at scrubbing those plastic ones that are all porous, and get so yucky sometimes. I will put various esential oils in my spray bottle with the vinigar. Such as Lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, or lavender depending on my mood. When I want to do a deep cleaning of my kitchen nothing beats making my own blend of oil tea with herbs and water. Here is the how to video. Unlike this lady, I use lavender instead of the cinnamon and clove. I like the smell better and it work just as good for my purposes. I dont know if the disinfectant properties are the same as when using therapeutic grade oil, but it works so, so ,SO good at taking baked on food and grease off the stove. It basically boosts the cleaning ability of the vinegar in a spray bottle. It gets sticky stuff of of floors, and well, it just gets everything SO clean!



I clean my floors, cabinets, counter tops, tables, walls, stair railing, and windows with vinegar in a spray bottle. armed with either a rag, or my mop and just my trusty spray bottle, cleaning is so easy! My mop is flat on the bottom with a cloth on it much like this one,
 which I find works the easiest for quick cleaning. I just get out my spray bottle, put a damp re-attachable cloth on my mop, Spray the floor and mop. SO easy and their is no need for using gallons of water. 

To shine up my floor and wood surfaces I mix equal parts olive oil and vinegar. A little goes a long way. Dont worry if you feel like the floor has too much oil that you just couldn't seem so spread no mater how hard you try, this will be fine. The oil ends up soaking into the floor. I dip a rag into the solution and gently rub my wood surfaces with it to make them look good.

To clean my toilet I put a cup of baking soda into the toilet, scrub, then flush. Then I put a cup of vinegar in, scrub, then flush. The vinegar is important. It make the toilet so SHINY! To clean the seat and outside of toilet I just get out my spry bottle again and a rag. For my sink and shower I spray everything down with vinegar then dust everything in baking soda. Scrub everything with a rag, then rinse.

A note on Norwex cloths. They clean of all those icky germs. Dampen and clean all your surfaces. Removes dust, kills germs, viruses, mold, and not you. I love them for cleaning sinks, showers, and tubs. I need to get one but haven't bean able to since I got married but when I lived at my moms I used them for everything. They are absolutely brilliant at dusting and taking animal hair of of furniture. I wipe my counter tops with it and it gets rid of all the germs without any disinfectants. The Norwex cloths are so good at cleaning sinks and showers. I use just my cloth and nothing else, and their is nothing to rinse of when I am done. They are a bit expensive, but well worth it in my opinion. 

To remove sticky stuff, put some rubbing alcohol on a cloth then rub the sticky area. It will come off fairly quickly. 

To remove stains including blood from carpets, use borax. If someone happens to drop a plate of food on a carpet, spills their wine, or somehow gets blood on the carpet follow these steps. 

1. Pick up all of the food and blot the liquid with a clean cloth

2. Using a spray mister, apply ice water to the area

3.Shake borax right out of the box over the stain

4. Place a wet towel in the freezer for five minutes and then place on top of the area

5.Press the borax into the carpet by pushing down on the frozen towel

If you don't have time for all of these things, dab at the spill with a damp cloth, put borax on it, and then do step 5.

For a room deodorizer and a fabric fresher I put alcohol in a bottle with some sort of essential oil (whatever I want the room/fabric to smell like). I spray it in the room, then I leave the room. Alcohol is not particularly good for your lungs. The alcohol will leave very quickly, Like 30 seconds, then you can enjoy your fresh smelling room. Use the same mixture on your couch, bed linens, etc to kill bed bugs and the like. The alcohol works better than water because it dissipates faster so that you aren't left with a wet couch. 

***A Couple Quick Additions: to make your carpets smell good, and to to get rid of various bugs mix a cup of baking soda with 5 to 10 drops of essential oil. Sprinkle onto a carpet (I use one of those Parmesan sprinklers that are at pizza restaurant) let set for just a little bit, then vacuum. This will also make your vacuum smell good.

Also you could use cornstarch instead of baking soda and use it as a body powder/deodorant. Sprinkle some in your shoes also to get rid of stinky smells. 
I hope this helps, and stay healthy!***
More info and sources    webmd.com   rodale.com    organicconsumers.org

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The safe and toxic free home: Laundry

For a quick overview article of toxic things in your home, and why they are toxic click here.
For an article on a study of products in the home and their toxicity click here. (Be warned, it may frighten you)


As I think back to when I first started helping my mom do laundry, the scent of Tide comes straight to my mind. This was back when we hadn't started using the clothes line, and my mom didn't react to chemicals like she dose now. However, when my mom started to become more educated from reading her many diet and health books over the years she started using a natural laundry detergent from the health foods store. Eventually she decided to get a clothes line, for the extra sunshine and to help the planet, even if it was just a baby step. My memories of helping my mom with the laundry as a middle schooler and up is of carrying the load out to the line, and hanging it up with her. She did the long and bulky things, and I did the many socks, t-shirts, and other lighter things. I absolutely LOVE the smell of the clothes when they come off the line. They even keep there lovely scent for a while after being hung up. Now the smell of Tide and other such products give me a headache and make me sneeze. If, and only when forced, when we go down the soap isle in most stores, we jog through. If we don't my mom's throat starts closing up and we both get major headaches.

Many people (from what I have read in articles and books) have headaches, chronic headaches in fact, from the fragrances that they ware. Not just perfume, but in their deodorants, lotions, and laundry soaps as well. Personally I think that this is so sad, that people willingly but oftentimes unknowingly subject themselves to pain in this way. Not only can you have reactions like headaches, but the toxins in your soaps, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets can cause throat, eye, and skin irritation, cancer, respiratory problems, and disruption of the endocrine system. Some are neurotoxins, some cause cellular changes, and others may cause mutations. (Personally I would rather not have my body mutated, my brain toxified, my cells modified, or have asthma, headaches, and all these other problems inflicted onto my body! Thank you very much.) Many of these chemicals are carcinogens (hazardous air pollutants) that are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to have no save exposure level. Which means that we are exposing ourselves and our children to chemicals that are in no way safe, ever.

"A University of Washington study of top-selling laundry products and air fresheners found the products emitted dozens of different chemicals. All six products tested gave off at least one chemical regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, but none of those chemicals was listed on the product labels."-ScienceDaily (July 24, 2008) 


No laws exist in the United States that protect us from these products. The government doesn't even require that they label any harmful chemicals. You may read fragrance, and that can be any number of petroleum based chemicals soaking into your skin and reeking havoc on your body. Once while my mom was at work, she picked up the Pine-Sole bottle to read the ingredients. This cleaning product had bean bothering her for some time. Upon reading the ingredients to her shock, and mine it read secret ingredients. WHat! I mean really! Now I believe that the labeling has changed, but dose include fragrance. The only ingredient actually listed that isn't harmful is the Water.

 I encourage you to buy natural soaps, or make your own, and to not use toxic  fabric softener or dryer sheets. Both of them can be made naturally.  Be warned about washing soda if you do make your own, it can be quite harmful, causing many of the same problems you can and will find in the toxic soaps you are trying not to use.

I must warn you also about Borax. My mom doesn't like using it in things that you put on your skin, like soaps or lotions, and personally I don't see the point of it in lotion anywise. She is very, very sensitive to chemicals so she simply doesn't want to risk it. Now she wont have a problem, but she used to have major issued before she started doing hair without harmful products. Most people wont have a problem with it, but if you are way overloaded with toxins, and say you are detoxing out your sin in the form of a rash/pimple type deal, and you have some open soars, then please read up on borax and any other thing you might put on your skin (this includes non organic materials that have fire retardants and such). Borax works great at removing stains (even blood) from carpets and is awesome when mixed with powdered sugar to get rid of ants, but if you put it on your skin it may cause skin irritation. Also if you in hail it repeatedly it is not good for you lungs.  Basically it would be like inhaling baking soda, or putting Baking Soda on your skin. Borax doesn't cause long term damage, nor dose it build up in your system over time. It dose not penetrate your skin easily at all, unlike many, many other products in cleaning supplies.  However if you ingest it repeatedly (for some strange reason you may find the urge to do this) it might cause reproductive problems. (They fed it to mice to see what it did and they had some reproductive problems that may have bean caused by repeated Borax feedings. Wow, is that a strange thing to do or what? Who would eat that! I guess those ants in my pantry would if it tastes sweet enough.) Overall, if you want to use Borax but are apprehensive, do more research. Google tends to be  very user friendly. But, if you want to try it, then I really don't see any problems that you should come across. Personally I prefer something that isn't toxic to not soak into my skin, than something that is toxic to soak into my skin.
Well, have fun making soaps, or discovering the new world of the health foods store's isle of cleaning products that are far nicer to your body, and if you are with child, your babies body (seeing as how if you change to toxic free things your baby will have a higher chance of coming out with all of it's parts. Esp if it's a boy...if you get my drift, if not, email me and we can have a little chat.)

                  
I use: Soap Nuts just nuts from and African tree. Works and smells amazing! You can use it as people soap too. put it in those scrubby bags that people put soap bars in, and scrub yourself. Then throw the bag in with your laundry to wash the clothes. (Great when traveling.) I also use Seventh Generation. I don't use fabric softener of dryer sheets. I just don't see the point, and i think my clothes feel better without them. Also I no longer have a dryer, so that could be part of it... The only reason why I use the Seventh Generation as well as the soap nuts, is because my father-in-law buys it. We share a washer, and since it is my bathroom he buys the soap. So for now I use the soap nuts for my underthings and dedicates. I just like the feel and smell better, and it seems to be more gentle. When I use the Seventh Generation I use like half or less of what it recommends. It cleans the clothes better, and my washing machine manufacturer says to use less, and I happen to like that rule.

More info: articles.mercola.com  wisebread.com  healingnaturallybybee.com
Fabric softener recipe  laundry detergent (you can use baking soda instead of washing soda) dryer sheet made with natural fabric softener  you can make a dryer sheet with non bleached muslin and a couple drops of essential oil.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The safe and toxic free home: Kitty litter

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I know, this topic doesn't seam all that huge to most people, and not everyone has a cat box, or a cat, but for those who do this really is a big problem. For one, clay cat litter is awful when you breath it in. Dust goes whooshing up in the air, and usually most of us let the box get dirty enough that we cant hold our breaths the entire time we are cleaning it.

 Clay litter generally has a clumping agent in it called sodium bentonite (natural clay ingredient) that expands when wet and hardens to make it easier to clean up. Unfortunately this has bean linked to many feline health problems, such as internal blockages, asthma, and other lung problems. Your cat is exposed to it longer, and they ingest it directly when they clean it off their paws. 

If your litter is Silica-based then you have another set of problems on your hands. Sodium silicate, absorbs moisture and odor but it too is harmful for humans and felines alike. It has "been linked to lung cancer, bronchitis and tuberculosis. Some cats can end up with a fatal form of pulmonary tuberculosis called silico-tuberculosis" (greenlivingonline.com) 
Neither one of these types of liters can decompose, and they are both stripe mined. The end result, unhealthy cats, owners, and an unhealthy planet. 

Baking soda is great for eliminating odor, but it is also hard on your felines kidneys. Don't forget, they do clean themselves and if they use a litter box then they clean off that litter too. This causes the urine to not be able to be passed. Then, you spend hundreds of dollars to fix the problem.

Instead of using clay litter I suggest choosing a corn, wheat, paper, or pine based litter that is fragrance free, (very important, fragrances cause even more respiratory problems. you know what it's like sitting by an old lady that uses to much perfume, and you cant breath and/or you get a headache. Your' perfume is still harming you even if it isn't as strong as the old ladies, but so is you cat litter that has fragrances that aren't natural).  My personal favorite is Swheat scoop. It is chemical free, and biodegradable. Corn and Wheat litters also clump without the aid of Sodium silicate. 

If you choose a natural litter, you may need to change it more often. For my one cat, I only need to change it about once a day for the smell to stay away. However If I don't have much time I can go a little longer, especially if I deodorize the air with a natural air deodorizer

If you are particularly concerned for you cat, and especially if that cat has had breathing problems in the past you may want to consider the pine. Wheat and Corn may have come into contact with chemicals. Some farmers are careless, and allow any number of chemicals on their fields. If the product isn't processed in a way that eliminates these chemicals then you cat may be exposed to them. This is also a concern for choosing food for yourself, but that's another topic. 


truthaboutpetfood.com  drweil.com   greenlivingonline.com   drphil.com   catsplay.com