Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Make Kombucha with Herbal Tea

Do you kombucha? Some might wash my mouth out with soap for that kind of language. It sounds like a Russian cuss word. Maybe it is! It is touted as the elixir of life! Great for the gut, and a fun replacement for soda. I have put off jumping on this bandwagon for a long time as I follow a religious code of health that forbids tea. Some may argue that the tea is long gone by the time you have the finished product, but we can justify anything we want. I for one, was uncomfortable with the black, white, or green tea called for here. So, imagine my delight when I found some information in the wonderful blogosphere out there that you can make kombucha just fine with herbal raspberry leaf tea. Most herbals will not work because they still contain their awesome essential oils and the oils disrupt the process. I have been experimenting ever since.

The end result for us is a sour soda that most of my family really loves. We get one gallon a week and it lasts a few days, unless I hide it behind the quarts and quarts of goat's milk, then I might get a sip. I have found that my favorite way to drink it is with a splash of organic grape juice and some chia seeds. You can buy that in stores, by the way, but it costs close to $3 a jar and I guarantee is not made of herbal tea. But it is delicious. My home made version is as well and closer to $3 a gallon.

The key, we have found, to making herbal kombucha is that you need to keep a mushroom growing in a black tea because after a few batches, a new mother will not grow in the herbal concoction. This is a little extra work, but not overwhelming.

Directions for Black Tea kombucha:

When you get a starter from someone, say thank you so much, make sure you also get 2 cups of kombucha to start it in. Then grow a new starter in black tea kombucha.
In a big pot, add:
10 cups of filtered water
8 black tea bags (organic preferred, but we have found not necessary)
1 cup of organic sugar for the bugger to feed off of. (You must use white sugar and must be organic)

Bring water to a boil, add the sugar and the tea. Let seep 8-10 min, but I usually forget and just take the tea bags out of the water once it has cooled. It is not very picky about this.
Once the tea is at room temp, add it to the starter and the 2 cups of komubcha. Put a coffee filter and rubber band over it. Always use glass!

Wait a week to ten days and see the new baby grow on top of the old one. The baby is for your herbal kombucha. Transfer it to a new jar with 2 cups of the black tea kombucha.

Directions for Raspberry Leaf Tea Kombucha:

10 cups filtered water
1 cup organic white sugar
8 organic raspberry leaf tea bags
Heat the water to a boil, add the sugar and the tea. Allow it to seep for 8-10 min, then throw the tea bags away.
Once the tea is cooled to room temperature, add it to the new starter and the 2 cups of black tea kombucha. You need this to make it go. You will not have to add black tea again.
Cover with a coffee filter and a rubber band. Allow it to "ferment' for 7-10 days. It is done when it is fizzy and sour tasting.
Using a cheese cloth or flour sack, strain the kombucha into a new glass jars. It will be fizzier if you have tight fitting lids.

Always organic sugar
Never let the kombucha touch metal.
Use a wooden spoon or clean  hands to handle the mushroom
Always bring the tea to room temperature before adding to the mushroom or it will kill it.
You can grow a new mushroom in the herbal tea, but only one or two, they get smaller and smaller.  You need to keep a black tea going (even if it is just a half batch) at all times to grow the new mushroom.

To spice it up!
Add a few drops of stevia and some lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange essential oil from doTERRA.
Choose an organic concentrated juice like grape or cherry and add a ratio of 1/4 juice to 1 cup kombucha.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Treat or Trick? It's Fall Party Time at School

I am feeling rebellious. Maybe because I listened to an interview with Food Babe...who is just awesome at making a difference. Maybe because the FDA is bullying essential oil companies and nut companies and anyone else who might have a great idea as to how to combat an illness naturally.

Or maybe it was the email I received from the homeroom mom of my daughter's class yesterday. First I laughed, then I cried, then I thought I could not stay silent.

Here is the letter:

Good Morning Parents!
Hope everyone is having a great start to your October. I wanted to go ahead and start getting the Fall Party together so it’s not rushed as it gets closer. Please reply all and let me know what you’d like to bring/send with your student.
The party will be at 2:30 and all are welcome to come enjoy the festivities. The students will be ending Red Ribbon Week and I believe dressing as their favorite Hero for the day! Should be fun!!
Here’s what we need for 24 Students (12 boys and 12 girls):
Drinks (juice boxes, Capri Suns, etc. style of drinks)
Goodie bags
I thought the main thing could be pizza for the kiddos. If you would like to help with the pizza that would be great too! I will get it from All American or Thunder City. I personally don’t have any experience with Thunder City, but if you do, give me your opinions please!
**PLEASE MAKE SURE ALL FOOD IS NUT FREE** Please check the labels before buying to make sure the item doesn’t say processed with nuts, those are BAD!!!
If there is an item you’d like to bring that isn’t listed just let me know!
Did anyone else get a similar note? Wanna know how I responded? Well, I will show you anyway:
Ha ha ha! Items processed with nuts are bad...but pizza is good? That struck me as funny. I know I am a kill joy, but that is soooo much junk food for a day when candy will abound! Can't cheese, crackers and grapes be enough when the kids have just had lunch? Fall party seems to have become gluttony and it mostly gets wasted. I appreciate trying to make it fun, but every year cringe at the "party." Sorry, just my two cents.
Janine Thompson

I didn't hear anything back from the homeroom mom. Go figure. Maybe I should send out a new list to the parents and see if any of them volunteer:

Good Morning Parents!
Hope everyone is having a great start to your October....blah, blah, blah...
Here’s what we need for 24 Students (12 boys and 12 girls):
Chips: Inflammation causing rancid vegetable oil loaded with Omega 6 fatty acids, genetically modified corn or toxin covered potatoes, salt.  
Crackers: Genetically modified or "enriched" wheat flour, omega six fatty acids, pretty much the same ingredients as the chips...but baked, not fried.
Pretzels: More of the same ingredients...but hey, they are fat free!
Juice boxes: 10% juice...maybe, high fructose corn syrup and focus depleting, allergy causing food dyes.
Sweets (Lets do donuts, because that was what we had last year, and cupcakes with black icing, because  it will be so cute for Halloween we also had those last year... Remember the crazy mom who scraped all the frosting off her kids cupcake before he could eat it...)
Donuts: "Enriched" flour, sugar, swimming in inflammation producing omega 6 fatty acids...
Cupcakes: "Enriched flour, sugar, more sugar, even more sugar, trans fats from shortening, more sugar, and every possible artificial color in the lab to make the frosting black. Tastes like a penny.
Barf bags
So far, looks like a wonderful "treat" for any kid.
Oh, but let's not stop there. We have already provided a "starter" course for the kids which will compromise their immune systems, feed candida, increase glucose to a startling height, affect ability to focus, turn them into raving lunatics, and give them a tummy ache. But let's not stop there! Even though they ate a super duper nutritious school lunch, also filled with genetically modified corn and soy, and pasteurized lowfat milk, just two hours ago, let' s also feed them pizza!
More omega sixes, MSG (a proven neurotoxin), genetically modified soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, more sugar, and more "enriched" wheat flour.
There is a nut allergy in our class, so no food can be processed in a plant with nuts.  As for the rest of the class, to heck with them. Let's sugar them up and feed them known neurotoxins! What a great start to the  holiday season!
I wonder if anyone would sign up to bring the cupcakes?

**Please note that I do not have my head in the sand when it comes to peanut allergies. I found this article on peanut allergies very sobering:

"While the percentage of people with peanut allergies is relatively low, the reactions are severe. They are one of the most dangerous forms of food allergy and the number one cause of death from anaphylactic shock. Each year in the United States peanut allergies cause about 30,000 anaphylactic reactions and 200 deaths. Even the smallest amount of nut contamination, as low as 2 milligrams of whole peanut, can have severe results."
- See more at: Probiotic News.

Although there is no conclusion yet as to what causes peanut allergies, they are most certainly on the rise in the Western Hemisphere. I personally would wager that our disregard for what we are feeding ourselves and our children has a lot to do with that. So, maybe I am a killjoy, but I have ONE major health concern. I do not want to get cancer, or an autoimmune disease, or a life threatening peanut allergy, and do not want to see my kids suffer with that either. I am just naïve enough to believe that our diet has EVERYTHING to do with this.

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Gluten Free Blueberry Breakfast Bars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

I have a son who will wake up every day this school year at 5:30 so he can do early morning seminary (religious studies class) and then be to school by 7 am for marching band. So, when is he going to fit breakfast in? Pumpkin muffins, smoothies, breakfast cookies and these awesome breakfast bars come to the rescue! They are equally awesome with almond flour or whole wheat depending on what your tummy or budget can tolerate. I have added some extra ingredients for added nutrition, but many of these are optional.

Makeover your "Nutrigrain" bars with these Breakfast Bars:

1 1/2 cups organic oats
1 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup rapadura (or brown sugar)
1 1/2 sticks melted butter

Mix all the dry ingredients, then add the butter. Mix to combine and press half the mix in the bottom of am 8x8 bar pan...unless you lost yours, like me, then a round cake pan works great.

1 cup blueberries (love it with raspberries too)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 scoop purple or red fruits/veggies from Blendfresh (optional)
1 scoop fiber powder from Blendfresh (optional...but the chia is an awesome natural thickener)
4 T real maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Heat the blueberries until the juices come out. Then mash with a fruit masher. Add the applesauce, syrup and vanilla. Then add the Blendfresh options if you have those. A little arrowroot powder or cornstarch will also thicken it nicely.

Pour the filling on the bottom layer of the crust. Then top with the remaining crumble. Bake at 350 for 25-30 min until browned.

Allow to cool completely before cutting. Store individually wrapped for on the go bars or serve up hot with ice cream...well maybe not for breakfast...unless no one is looking.

The Blendfresh products are optional, but add so much nutrition including fiber and phyto-nutrients from 12 different fruits and  All of it is GMO free and gluten free. To learn more about it, you can check out Blendfresh here.

Did I mention that since my son is 15 I also get to get up early every day this school year to drive him? I knew this day would be coming...but oh, Heaven help me!

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Essential Oils for Different Skin Types

Some of the best things we can put on our skin to leave it beautiful, vibrant and clear are found right in the kitchen! Time to get a little food on your face! Just remember to wash it off before you head out for the day!

But first, everything is better with essential oils and they are wonderful for the skin! You can choose the oil that is best for you based upon the type of skin you have.

For oily skin:
  • frankincense
  • bergamot
  • lavender
  • lemon
  • orange
  • rosemary
  • melaleuca
For dry skin:
  • cedarwood
  • clary sage
  • geranium
  • lavender
  • myrrh
  • sandalwood
For acne:
  • lavender
  • melaleuca
  • rosewood
  • black cumin seed

And of course whatever your mood, choose and oil that speaks to you. Now for the fun part:

Inexpensive oil wash:

Oil dissolves oil! I love washing my face with olive oil and essential oils. A teaspoon or so will do you. Then add a drop of two of the right oil for your skin needs. Is it dry? Add geranium and myrrh. Oily? Add lemon or frankincense. Lavender is awesome for the skin as it addresses oily, dry and acne prone skin. I To wash, get a hot washcloth and set on face to open up pores. Then rub oil on skin. Rub gently in circles to remove makeup and grease. Use hot cloth
to remove all the oil. No moisturizer needed.
(Image courtesy of m_bartosh at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Sticky Icky Honey Wash:

Raw honey is awesome stuff! It is Anti-bacterial, helps with allergies, and clears acne! It is slightly drying and deeply moisturizing. Rinse you face well with warm water. Add a little honey to your wet, warm palm and rub it on your face. Have you tried this? Do you like it?  I find it sticky and uncomfortable and nerve wracking as I worry about it getting in my hair. I prefer the oil cleansing method, but to each his own!
 (Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


1 cup ground oats
1/2 cup ground almonds (or almond flour)
5 drops essential oils (choose the best oil for your skin type)

Put all in a container with lid an shake it up. To use, take a T of mix and add a few drops of water and a drop of essential oils to make a paste. Rub on skin to get rid of dead skin cells and rejuvenate. Or add some water and orange oil and have a little breakfast!
(Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

My favorite moisturizer: 

1/4 cup coconut oil
5 drops wild orange oil

Use 1/4 tsp to moisturize and uplift. This also makes a great lip gloss that make you extra kissable. Seriously, try and keep the hubby (or wife) off of you!

*Warning: For those with photosensitivity, do no use and then go out in the sunlight. Although I forgot and walked all over DC and had no issues whatsoever.
(Image courtesy of Phasinphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Face Mask:

Tighten your skin with egg whites! Separate the yolks and put them aside for this awesome chocolate milk, then whip up the whites until frothy, then add 2 drops of essential oils for your skin type or mood. Cover you face with the protein rich goodness and allow to harden for 15 min. This will tone and tighten you face. Finally, rinse with warm water and feel younger.

**Note, this face mask is quite controversial. I giggle reading the comments from people who love it and those who distain animal proteins. So, try it if you like. Don't if you are nervous. I drink my eggs raw too...I am just an adrenaline seeker...what can I say? (Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Cellulite reducer:

One 12 oz bottle of Coconut oil
1 15 ml bottle of grapefruit oil

Put both in a spray bottle. Spritz liberally on body after shower, focusing on problem areas. Rub it in. On a side note, grapefruit oil is an appetite reducer and stops sugar cravings in their tracks, so go ahead, be liberal with this oil!
(Image courtesy of Suat Eman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

To  purchase your own doTERRA essential oils, why not get a wholesale account. It is the smartest way to buy doTERRA!

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Roller Bottle Make and Take

Eventbrite - Natural Remedies Class

****The Sept 30th Class location has changed! It will be held at my home.
Eventbrite - Natural Remedies Class

Retail Cost breakdown: (For 5 ml! Double the price for a full 10 ml bottle)
You can select the ones you want or buy the whole kit!

5 ml bottles:
Allergy Bomb: $4
Aching Muscles: $8.50
Belly Blend: $7
Bruise Blend: $8.50
Cough Blend: $8
Flu Bomb: $7.00
Focus Blend: $5.50
Owie Blend: $5
Sleepy Time: $12
Stuffy Nose: $5
Hand Sanitizer: $3.50

Total kit price for 5 ml: $74

Eventbrite - Natural Remedies Class

Here is a wonderful clutch to hold them in. You can purchase these online.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cinnamon Popcorn

Do you use your essential oils in cooking? Not all brands are appropriate for that, but I love how I can use doTERRA as a healthy alternative to synthetic food flavorings and extracts. Many of the oils add an extra level of sweetness without adding sugar. The amount used varies by taste. For really potent oils like oregano, basil, and black pepper, a tooth pick dipped in the oil and swirled into the pot is sufficient. For other recipes, I have found that 2-3 drops replace 1 tsp of extract. But play around with it drop by drop. Ready for a sweet and salty treat without adding any actual sweetener to the pot? Then you gotta try this popcorn flavored with all my favorite oils. Butter, coconut oil and amazing healthy doTERRA cinnamon...which tastes like a nice hot tamale, minus the HFCS and steroid filled gelatin! It takes no special equipment, but can easily be made in a popcorn popper too. 

2 T coconut oil (divided)
1/3 cup organic popping corn
2 T butter
3-4 drops doTERRA cinnamon essential oil
Sea Salt to taste.

1.  Heat 1 T coconut oil in a large pot with tight fitting lid.
2.  Add the popcorn
Once it starts popping, lightly shake the pot back and forth on the burner. Once the popping slows, take it off the heat. Remove the lid immediately. Melt the butter, mix with the coconut oil and drop in the oils. Pour over the hot popcorn, sprinkle with salt, replace the lid and shake until it is evenly distributed.

If using an air popper, mix the coconut oil with the butter and cinnamon oil and pour over the popped corn. For other treats made with essential oils, check out these recipes:

Orange Creamsicles



Flourless Orange Chocolate Cake

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal

Key Lime Pie

Avocado Pesto


Go ahead and give them a try. If you need to purchase these wonderfully versatile oils, you can do that here.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Grain Free Spaghetti

Have you seen one of these before?
Can you guess what it is used for?
Clue number one: It is recommended for use in the kitchen, but it is so easy, you can use it anyplace.
Clue number two: it is really sharp inside, so fingers should be cautious.
Clue number three: it is not a pencil sharpener, but you would never know that by looking at the end result.
Clue number four, it helps to make a really fun dinner.
Clue number five...oh to heck with the clues...

 It is the most exciting thing since the Chia Pet..I think. I can take zucchini, summer squash, butternut squash, sweet potatoes or even a nice sized log if I wanted (oh, so that is where whole wheat pasta comes from :) and make it into spaghetti! Cool, yes?

I do not have anything against regular spaghetti. But I am always looking for a way to add more veggies to my diet in a way that doesn't make me want to amputate my tongue. Which would happen by the way if you were to put your tongue inside the Veggeti, so don't, kay?

Making "pasta" is so fast. Scrub you squash, then insert into the wide funnel and twist the vegetable. The long strings come out. Make as much as you want. It takes at least a whole medium squash to make a meal. Then steam it in some water for 2-3 minutes. Top with your favorite sauce or sprinkle with parmesean.

This is my favorite recipe:
1 yellow and 1 green zucchini
1 T butter
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce (there is a new jar sauce at Walmart that is 100% organic and $1.88 a jar!)

Make your Veggeti magic, and lightly steam the squash, drain. Then add the butter and garlic to a fry pan and toss in the cooked "noodles." Fry it up until there is garlic goodness on every strand. Then eat. I prefer this to spaghetti squash. As in, I will probably never buy spaghetti squash again because it kinda makes me gag. Serve this up with a salad and you have a full plate of veggies that vegetarians go nuts over and us carbivores omnivores eat because we know we should.

Have you tried veggeti? If not you can get it here (affiliate link).

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