Monthly Archives: May 2011

Recipe: DIY All-Natural Deodorant

Along my journey towards a simpler, healthier lifestyle, I started coming across articles about health and beauty products that weren’t so healthy for you! So many of them have added chemicals, like aluminum in deodorants, for example.

A few months back, I started making my own laundry detergent to avoid the extra chemicals (and save some cash). Last month, I started making my own deodorant. It’s so easy and it really does work! I wanted to test it for a while before I shared the recipe, to make sure it worked, thus the delay in posting this. But, I assure you, it does work and has no hidden chemicals or unnatural elements! And it’s cheaper than buying an all-natural deodorant in the store.

Note, however, that this is NOT an antiperspirant; it’s simply a deodorant. God gave us sweat glands as a built-in mechanism to cool us down and release toxins from our bodies, so I’m not a big fan of antiperspirants, unless you have over-productive sweat glands, of course.

Recipe:

  • 1/3 c. organic coconut oil (I used Spectrum brand)
  • 1/4 c. all-natural baking soda (I used Arm & Hammer)
  • 1/4 c. all-natural cornstarch (I used Cream 100% Pure brand)
  • 30 drops lavender essential oil (natural anti-fungal)
  • 30 drop tea tree essential oil (natural anti-bacterial)
Cream all the ingredients together in your mixer and store in a jar. It works best if you store it in a cool, dark place (like under your bathroom counter) so the oil doesn’t melt. I simply use my finger and rub about 1/4 tsp. under each arm in the morning  (you could clean out an old deodorant stick and refill it if you don’t want to use your hands). It lasts all day and smells great!

Do you have a favorite natural beauty product recipe you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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More Baskets from Milk and Honey Organics…Plus Recipe Ideas

Last Week’s Basket from Milk and Honey Organics:

Swiss Chard, Beets, Potatoes, Apples, Bananas, Broccoli, Peaches, Garlic, Orange, Grapefruit, Leeks, and Peas

This Week’s Basket from Milk and Honey Organics:

Baby Bok Choy, Cilantro, Blueberries, Romaine Lettuce, Avocado, Limes, Tomatoes, Onion, Zucchini, Summer Squash, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Red Potatoes, Cucumber and Peaches

Last Week’s Basket:

  • Baked Potatoes (Rub with organic olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt; bake at 450F for 45 minutes to an hour.)
  • Broccoli Cheese Soup
  • Steamed Broccoli and Peas
  • Veggie Fried Rice with Stir-fried Eggs
  • Protein Smoothies (I made the bananas into protein smoothies for breakfasts this week: 1 banana, 1 c. raw milk, 1 Tbsp. peanut butter, and 1 scoop chocolate protein powder.)
  • The beets are roasting as I blog, getting ready to be pureed and transformed into Chocolate Beet Cupcakes!
  • The apples will be made into Bryan’s Famous Apple Pie sometime in the next week!

Tonight:

More Recipe Ideas for This Week:

Recipe: Mom’s Red Potato Salad

From Susan Gons, March 23, 1995. Serves 8.

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 lbs. small red potatoes, cooked + quartered
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. dill weed
  • 1 Tbsp. prepared mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
Instructions:
While potatoes are cooking, mix rest of ingredients. Drain potatoes. Fold dressing into potatoes. Serve warm, or Chill Overnight. Note: Do not overcook potatoes.

Recipe: Veggie Fried Rice with Stir-fried Eggs (aka Rice & Eggs)

Rice & Eggs is a staple at our house. It’s a great way to use up cooked rice. Bryan’s family made this growing up.

Rice: Bring 1 c. uncooked rice to a boil in 2 c. water. Reduce heat to low or medium low and cover (leaving lid slightly ajar, so it doesn’t seal and boil over). Simmer for 15 minutes and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, scramble about 6 eggs in butter. Add cooked rice to eggs and continue to stirfry. Add a generous sprinkling of garlic powder. (Salt and pepper are optional.)

At this point, Bryan’s dish is done.

But…while he’s cooking the rice and eggs, I prepped my own veggies. I stir-fried 1/4 c. finely chopped red onions, 1/4 c. finely chopped bell peppers, 1/2 c. chopped grape tomatoes in about a teaspoon of olive oil (or butter). Meanwhile, I steamed one bunch of chopped swiss chard with a little butter, salt and pepper. In a separate pot, I steamed a small head of broccoli and a handful of “de-podded” fresh peas from our produce basket. We both had broccoli, and the rest of the veggies went in my fried rice.

Serves 4 (dinner last night for both of us + lunch today for both of us).

Recipe: Sliced Tomatoes and Dad’s “Famous” Thousand Island Dressing

Use a serrated knife to retain the integrity of the tomato.

Drizzle with Dad's "Famous" Thousand Island Dressing and Sprinkle with Raw Sugar

Dad’s “Famous” Thousand Island Dressing

Mix all ingredients together until smooth:

  • Mayo (about as much as the amount of dressing you want)
  • Relish (about one spoonful)
  • Chili Sauce (until it’s the right color)
  • Lemon Juice (one capful, not much)
  • Sugar (half a pinch)
  • Salt (half a pinch – dad says this is the “secret ingredient”)

Recipe: Chicken Leek Soup (and How to Clean a Leek)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. Butter (you could use olive oil instead)
  • 2 organic Leeks, white portion only, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove organic garlic, finely minced (or 1/2 – 1 tsp. prepared minced garlic)
  • 1 c. vegetable broth (I use 1 tsp. vegetable bouillon + 1 c. water)
  • 2 c. chicken broth (I use 2 chicken bouillon cubes + 2 c. water)
  • 1 1/2 c. organic Yukon Gold Potatoes (I used 4 small potatoes)
  • 1 c. chopped organic rotisserie chicken breast (Bryan made this earlier last week)
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 c. organic heavy whipping cream

How to Prepare Leeks:

Organic Leeks - remove outermost leave and rinse

Remove and discard root tip and green portion of stems.

Cut each leek in half lengthwise.

Leeks tend to be quite sandy. Press the center of the halved leek and thoroughly rinse between each layer to ensure the lack of grit in your meal.

How to Make the Soup:

1. Melt butter in Medium Pot on stove over medium low heat.
2. Thinly slice prepared leeks and mince garlic.
3.  Add leeks and garlic to butter with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until soft and slightly golden brown.
4. Finely chop potatoes; roughly chop rotisserie chicken.
5. Add vegetable broth, chicken broth, potatoes and chicken to pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.
6. Add seasonings and whisk in cream.
7. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Serves 4.

Bon Appetit! ~Melissa

Recipe: Tri-Colored Taters

Look at these beautiful vegetables! It was almost too pretty to roast, but I did it anyway.

Thinly slice 4 small organic red potatoes, 2 organic purple yams, and 1-2 organic sweet potatoes. Line in a greased baking dish. Drizzle with organic olive oil and season with seasoned salt, freshly ground black pepper and freshly chopped parsley and organic garlic.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then increase temperature to 425F and continue roasting for 15-30 more minutes.

Bon Appetit! ~Melissa

Busy Week!

Wow! I can’t believe I’ve hardly had a moment to write over the past few weeks.  Thank you all for staying with me during this busy season of life.

For those that were unable to make it to our yard sale, we did quite well! We made almost $500!! And we still had two larger pieces of furniture left afterwards that we dropped off at a local consignment shop this week, so we hope to make a little extra money on that. That will go straight on Bryan’s new motorcycle! We are getting closer and closer to being debt free…now, if only the house would sell! 🙂

I took Friday off work last week to prep for the yard sale, and it’s a good thing I did. I pulled stuff out of every closet, nook, and cranny of every room and the shed! I also followed by C.A.Y.G. policy (Clean As You Go) and straightened each space as I went through. I’m not sure which was more beneficial: the $500 profit or the organized and clean home! I’m leaning towards the clean space!  The house looks great (if I do say so myself), and it is my goal to only purchase what I need and stop purchasing the extra stuff just because it looks cute on the shelf. Clutter free is the way for me! I think I breathe easier…is that possible?!

Anyway, I didn’t make it to bed until around 3:30A on Saturday, then I set my timer for 2 hours and was up again around 5:30A to start setting things out. People were already lining up by 7A. We marketed on Craigslist, UniversityYardSale, and Facebook. It’s nice when you can throw in the words “multi-family” and “moving sale”…brings a little extra crowd. We priced most things at $1 or less and got rid of so much stuff! The stuff that didn’t sell was either taken to consignment or put in the Miracle Hill box. Awh, sigh of relief! The only downside to the yard sale was the fact that I couldn’t reach my back with the sunscreen. Ouch! The first couple of days afterwards were a little painful, but it’s much better now.

After we got everything cleared out of the yard, I took a much needed shower and went to The Upstate Spice of Life show at the Carolina Center. It was the first year for this particular show, emphasizing healthy living, cooking, entertaining, etc. I can’t wait to check out some of the venues like The Palmetto Olive Oil Co. on Augusta (white truffle olive oil is fabulous!) and The Grain Loft (our next step in the bread making process is milling our own wheat). I just wish I could have gone to the show a little earlier; I caught the last hour and a half, so not everything was open. I did get to talk to a health coach about what she does (wouldn’t that be an awesome job!), and I ran into someone who supports the local urban farm groups in our area (community garden plots all over the upstate) who recognized me from my blog! How cool is that!?!

Sunday was an AMAZING church service. Pastor Brooks spoke on Suffering, Grace, and Glory from I Peter 5. Check it out here. Then Sunday School was Part I of a couple’s testimony of how God turned bad choices at the beginning of a marriage to a God-glorifying picture of His grace and redemption. Can’t wait for Part II this week!

After church, we went to Bryan’s parents’ house for a family dinner. Bryan’s brother-in-law James left for training in Alabama this Thursday and will go directly to Afghanistan after that. Please pray for his wife (Bryan’s sister Stacy) and their three small children, as it will be very hard to be so far apart. My heart goes out to them! It’s hard enough without kids to have Bryan on a night shift schedule. I can’t imagine what it would be like with kids and having him halfway around the world.

Tuesday night we had some friends over for homemade pizza. Bryan says it gets better and better each time. We make our own whole wheat sourdough crust and homemade sauce and use all-natural/organic ingredients for the toppings. His friend Josh thinks we should open a restaurant. Haha.  Maybe someday it can be a menu item at our B&B that we want to open (pipe dream).

Due to the sunburn, I didn’t work out much if any on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday. By Wednesday, I was feeling better and ready to get back at it! I started with a 5 minute warmup on the elliptical, followed by 40 minutes of a core workout and 2 miles on the treadmill. Yeah!

Wednesday night was Shepherding Group (small groups from our church that meet in various homes). We had such an encouraging time and were thankful for the opportunity to open our home to our group. Next time, we’re planning a pizza party! There were only 7 of us here this week, but it was a sweet time of sharing and encouraging and reflecting on Sunday’s sermon.

Thursday night,  I did 1 mile on the treadmill, a 40 minute arms workout, followed by another mile on the treadmill. I came home and made a new recipe with thinly sliced red potatoes, purple yams, and sweet potatoes (pictures and recipe coming soon). I also made an omelet with onions, peppers, mushrooms, grape tomatoes and pepperjack cheese. Yum! After a quick dinner, I changed into a nice outfit for a Girls Night Out! My friend Jan and I went to see Pride & Prejudice at Rodeheaver Auditorium (put on by students and faculty at Bob Jones University). They did a very nice job and I loved the set! The stage looked like they were acting on Austen’s writing desk! There were books that would open or close depending on which place the scene took place, and envelopes for ramps. Very cool concept! Afterwards, Jan and I had a really good heart to heart and chatted about what God was teaching us. It was just what we needed!

This morning started with doing another cleanup of the house for a showing! I’m really praying the house goes ahead and sells so we can be debt free sooner than later. We’re fine if it doesn’t sell. After all, we love our home. But we have some bigger long-term goals that will be more easily accomplished if we’re not tied down. I worked from about 10 till 4 and had put in my 40 hours for the week, so I was able to come home and get a little blogging done before my clients show up for their workout. I’m feeling yoga on the schedule tonight.

Then later, my cousin Anna is coming into town for BJU’s graduation and will be staying the night with me. She’s got a pretty packed schedule, but we should be able to squeeze in one good cup of coffee and some catch up time. I love my cousins! I’m so glad I grew up near most of them as a kid; they feel almost like siblings than cousins. And even the ones that are further away, there’s just some sort of special family bond. Anyway, that was a side note. It will be really good to see her!

Tomorrow is free except for coffee with Jan and maybe some yardwork. Yeah for Saturdays! Then my mom will be coming sometime this weekend because my sister is due to have a baby any day now! Can’t wait to meet the little munchkin! I’m hoping for lots of Aunt Mel time! It will be good to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom and sister! (Can’t wait to give moms their gifts this year! I got Bryan’s mom and my mom similar items, and I think they’ll both like them!)

Well, it’s time to prep for my clients. Have a great weekend! I hope to be able to blog again soon! Enjoy the journey!