February 27, 2013

Natural home-made baby powder!

You would think that baby products would be safe for babies and kids to use...well you are wrong!
I always assumed that these products were healthier and more natural, not containing any suspicious ingredients and things you couldn't pronounce! Well, wake up people, (slaps self) these products are no more safer than any other products that are not 'baby' products.

So because I am trying to make my home as chemical free as possible I have started to make most of my baby products.

  • I have made my own diaper wipe spray and re-usable wipes from old clothing! (way to use up clothes that are old and don't fit!!)
  • I am currently (as in it's on my stove waiting to cool down) making a herbal shampoo/body wash.
  • I use coconut oil as a diaper cream and will be making a diaper 'balm' soon too!
and finally .... the title of this post...


yes, you can make your own baby powder for like pennies per use (literally ~ oh wait pennies are discontinued here ...hmm ok well you get the idea!)

If you don't know yet - baby powder is very harmful if you inhale it...and umm you think babies don't inhale stuff?? Duh!!
Read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_powder

Anyway...so with that, here is my recipe EASY EASY!! I promise!

3-4 Tbsp Corn Starch
5 drops Lavender essential oil
5 drops Grapefruit essential oil
or any other combination that you like!

Mix and put in a 'shaker' container and that's it!! 

Now use anywhere you would use baby powder...I even like it for using for underarms as a deodorant/anti-perspirant!

The only drawback is that is does clump a bit more, but hey it's still a better option! 
If anyone knows of what would stop the clumping, let me know!

February 26, 2013

Eat good things ~ Avocados

We are lucky here in North America that we can get a variety of fruits and vegetables at almost any time of the year, however eating foods in season are healthier and more nutritious.  Of course we do not have all fruits or vegetables available even if they are in season as our climate may not support it.  So having said that, here is one of those foods that we do not have and must import...and I am thankful that we do!


I only recently discovered the health benefits of Avocados, and I must say they are very tasty too!
There is a trend of using avocados in recipes where other fats are called for.  It can be used in savory or sweet dishes...oh yes, even desserts! 

I have made a chocolate pudding and truffles (well, they became something different than truffles as I didn't realize I did not have any powdered sugar at home and not enough cocoa - how sad!)
Will post the recipe for the truffles at the end!

So here is some good information about avocados...make sure you eat some today!

Consider adding avocado to salads, and not only on account of taste! Recent research has shown that absorption of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—increases significantly when fresh avocado (or avocado oil) is added to an otherwise avocado-free salad. One cup of fresh avocado (150 grams) added to a salad of romaine lettuce, spinach, and carrots increased absorption of carotenoids from this salad between 200-400%. This research result makes perfect sense to us because carotenoids are fat-soluble and would be provided with the fat they need for absorption from the addition of avocado. Avocado oil added to a salad accomplished this same result. Interestingly, both avocado oil and fresh avocado added to salsa increased carotenoid absorption from the salsa as well.
The method you use to peel an avocado can make a difference to your health. Research has shown that the greatest concentration of carotenoids in avocado occurs in the dark green flesh that lies just beneath the skin. You don't want to slice into that dark green portion any more than necessary when you are peeling an avocado. For this reason, the best method is what the California Avocado Commission has called the "nick and peel" method. In this method, you actually end up peeling the avocado with your hands in the same way that you would peel a banana. The first step in the nick-and-peel method is to cut into the avocado lengthwise, producing two long avocado halves that are still connected in the middle by the seed. Next you take hold of both halves and twist them in opposite directions until they naturally separate. At this point, remove the seed and cut each of the halves lengthwise to produce long quartered sections of the avocado. You can use your thumb and index finger to grip the edge of the skin on each quarter and peel it off, just as you would do with a banana skin. The final result is a peeled avocado that contains most of that dark green outermost flesh so rich in carotenoid antioxidants!

Avocado has sometimes received a "bad rap" as a vegetable too high in fat. While it is true that avocado is a high-fat food (about 85% of its calories come from fat), the fat contained in avocado is unusual and provides research-based health benefits. The unusual nature of avocado fat is threefold. First are the phytosterols that account for a major portion of avocado fats. These phytosterols include beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol and they are key supporters of our inflammatory system that help keep inflammation under control.
The anti-inflammatory benefits of these avocado fats are particularly well-documented with problems involving arthritis. Second are avocado's polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PFAs). PFAs are widely present in ocean plants but fairly unique among land plants—making the avocado tree (and its fruit) unusual in this regard. Like the avocado's phytosterols, its PFAs also provide us with anti-inflammatory benefits. Third is the unusually high amount of a fatty acid called oleic acid in avocado.
Over half of the total fat in avocado is provided in the form of oleic acid—a situation very similar to the fat composition of olives and olive oil. Oleic acid helps our digestive tract form transport molecules for fat that can increase our absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like carotenoids. As a monounsaturated fatty acid, it has also been shown to help lower our risk of heart disease. So don't be fooled by avocado's bad rap as a high-fat food. Like other high-fat plant foods (for example, walnuts and flaxseeds), avocado can provide us with unique health benefits precisely because of its unusual fat composition.

Wide-Ranging Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Supports Cardiovascular Health
Promotes Blood Sugar Regulation
Anti-Cancer Benefits

Click here to read more about Avocados!

Avocados are native to Central and South America and have been cultivated in these regions since 8,000 B.C. In the mid-17th century, they were introduced to Jamaica and spread through the Asian tropical regions in the mid-1800s. Cultivation in United States, specifically in Florida and California, began in the early 20th century. While avocados are now grown in most tropical and subtropical countries, the major commercial producers include the United States (Florida and California), Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Colombia.

A ripe, ready-to-eat avocado is slightly soft but should have no dark sunken spots or cracks. If the avocado has a slight neck, rather than being rounded on top, it was probably tree ripened and will have better flavor. A firmer, less mature fruit can be ripened at home and will be less likely to have bruises.

A firm avocado will ripen in a paper bag or in a fruit basket at room temperature within a few days. As the fruit ripens, the skin will turn darker. Avocados should not be refrigerated until they are ripe. Once ripe, they can be kept refrigerated for up to a week. If you are refrigerating a whole avocado, it is best to keep it whole and not slice it in order to avoid browning that occurs when the flesh is exposed to air.
If you have used a portion of a ripe avocado, it is best to store the remainder in the refrigerator. Store in a plastic bag, wrap with plastic wrap, or place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Sprinkling the exposed surface(s) with lemon juice will help to prevent the browning that can occur when the flesh comes in contact with oxygen in the air.
Many avocado recipes that you'll find in cookbooks and on the Internet include avocado as an ingredient in its raw, unheated form. In the World's Healthiest Foods recipes, we also favor this approach. We simply cannot think of a better way to preserve the health benefits made possible by avocado's unique and delicate fats. If you do plan to use avocado in a recipe that calls for heat, we recommend that you use the lowest possible temperature and least amount of cooking time that will still work with your particular recipe.

Recipe for Avocado Truffles!

Avocado-Chocolate Truffle Recipe
Recipe Type: Candy, Chocolate, Avocado, Truffles
Yields: makes many
Prep time: 25 min

1/2 cup butter
1 large very ripe avocados, peeled and pit removed*
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
3 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
Powdered sugar for rolling

* If an avocado is ripe, it will yield to a gentle pressure.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter; remove from heat; set aside.
In your food processor or food blender, puree the avocado until a smooth consistency.  NOTE: If you add a little of the melted butter to the avocado, it helps in the process. Be sure there are no chunks of avocado left.
Add the avocado puree, vanilla extract, cocoa, and powdered sugar into the saucepan with the remaining melted butter. Mix until well combined. Place the chocolate mixture into the refrigerator until it hardens.
When chocolate mixture has hardened, remove from refrigerator. Line a sheet pan or cookie sheet with waxed paper or parchment. Using a cold metal teaspoon, melon baller, or a mini ice cream scoop and your hands, roll the chocolate into small balls about 3/4-inch diameter and arrange them on the sheet pan. If the mixture gets too soft to mold easily, put it back in the freezer for a few minutes. Place the cookie sheet of chocolate balls in the refrigerator until firm.
Once the truffles have hardened, remove from the refrigerator and shape into balls by rolling between the palms of your hands. Roll in powdered sugar to coat the outside. Place the finished truffles in the refrigerator until they are set. They should be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature when ready to serve.

February 12, 2013

Eat Good Things: Lentils

Health benefits of Lenitls

I love lentils, red, green, brown and yellow! All of these lovely legumes are a valued member in our household.  Whether it is goes into a soup or a stew or even if you make burgers out of it, the health benefits of this humble little 'bean' are quite amazing.

Lentils are legumes along with other types of beans. They grow in pods that contain either one or two lentil seeds that are round, oval or heart-shaped disks and are oftentimes smaller than the tip of a pencil eraser. They may be sold whole or split into halves with the brown and green varieties being the best at retaining their shape after cooking.

Nutrients in
1.00 cup cooked (198.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value










vitamin B122%


Calories (229)12%

Lentils, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. But this is far from all lentils have to offer. Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition?
Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up—not out.
Lentils—A Fiber All Star
Check a chart of the fiber content in foods; you'll see legumes leading the pack. Lentils, like other beans, are rich in dietary fiber, both the soluble and insoluble type. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that snares bile (which contains cholesterol)and ferries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.
Love Your Heart—Eat Lentils
In a study that examined food intake patterns and risk of death from coronary heart disease, researchers followed more than 16,000 middle-aged men in the U.S., Finland, The Netherlands, Italy, former Yugoslavia, Greece and Japan for 25 years. Typical food patterns were: higher consumption of dairy products in Northern Europe; higher consumption of meat in the U.S.; higher consumption of vegetables, legumes, fish, and wine in Southern Europe; and higher consumption of cereals, soy products, and fish in Japan. When researchers analyzed this data in relation to the risk of death from heart disease, they found that legumes were associated with a whopping 82% reduction in risk!!

Lentils are believed to have originated in central Asia, having been consumed since prehistoric times. They are one of the first foods to have ever been cultivated. Lentil seeds dating back 8000 years have been found at archeological sites in the Middle East. Lentils were mentioned in the Bible both as the item that Jacob traded to Esau for his birthright and as a part of a bread that was made during the Babylonian captivity of the Jewish people. For millennia, lentils have been traditionally been eaten with barley and wheat, three foodstuffs that originated in the same regions and spread throughout Africa and Europe during similar migrations and explorations of cultural tribes. Before the 1st century AD, they were introduced into India, a country whose traditional cuisine still bestows high regard for the spiced lentil dish known as dal. In many Catholic countries, lentils have long been used as a staple food during Lent. Currently, the leading commercial producers of lentils include India, Turkey, Canada, China and Syria.

Read more here :

February 11, 2013

Shower/hand scrub bags

I saw this idea on One Good Thing by Jilliee (just really love her ideas!)

I have adapted the recipe a bit and use it as a scrub/cleanser in the kitchen. 
It uses oatmeal, lavender soap, coconut oil and chamomile flowers.

I did not really measure the amounts just threw things together, feel free to adjust it to however you like it!

The Oatmeal is great for skin, and a wonderful exfoliator.  The Lavender is calming as well as good for skin.  The Chamomile is also 'calming' and another good exfoliator. 

1 cup Oatmeal (use the rolled type not quick cook)
1/2 bar of Lavender soap (you can use any 'natural' soap you like)
4-5 drops Lavender essential oil
1 tsp coconut oil melted (do not use microwave) or almond or olive oil.
2 tbsp chamomile flowers (if you do not have flowers, open a bag of chamomile tea and sprinkle in the ground up tea)

Grate the soap into a bowl, add in the oatmeal, chamomile flowers.  Melt the coconut oil in a small glass that is immersed in a bowl of hot water.  Melting it in the microwave will kill any benefits of the coconut oils so never do that, always melt it this way.  Drop in the Lavender essential oil into the coconut oil and then pour into the dry mixture. Blend everything and scoop the mixture into small bags (or use cheese cloth, that's what I used first but these small bags are way cuter!)

Now when you want you just use this instead of soap to wash your hands, when you need a bit of
extra scrubbing/exfoliating this is perfect!
You can use this in the bath as well. After using just let it dry out and you can use it again, this small bag you can probably get 3-4 uses out of it.  The best part is that you can just open up the bag and fill it up again (after washing it out of course!)

I love the combination of Lavender and Chamomile, but you can use anything really.  Peppermint, lemon, orange, etc!

Let me know how it goes and what combinations you have tried!