24 Fri, 2011 § 5 Comments
Have you made your own deodorant yet? I am still loving mine…except…occasionally, my under arms became mildly irritated & (unattractively) red, especially when heavy perspiration hits.
I researched & discovered baking soda is a common irritant for many people. Ashley said she initially experienced irritation, but eventually it went away. After a full batch, I still get it from time to time — strange it only happens sometimes. For my second batch, I could have reduced the amount of baking soda, but I decided to leave it out all together. I did not adjust any of the other ratios but simply left it out — no more rashes! I put it to the test in Bikram & climbing over the weekend & pushing high intensity intervals this week: no irritation at all, no odor. It might even smell better this time around…
I like the coconut scent & how the oil feels on my skin. When I’m cooking with it (plain coconut oil, not the deodorant), I don’t even bother rinsing or wiping it (completely) off if it gets on my hands; I just rub it in & let it soften my skin.
I added another skin-nourishing ingredient to this mix of deodorant: remember the cacao butter (also known as cocoa butter) I ordered for making raw chocolate? I added a little for its healing effects on the skin. It adds a nice cocoa scent & feels nourishing.
Also, filling an old deodorant crank container doesn’t work; I think the homemade deodorant is too soft with the coconut oil. If it worked for you, please share; but ours wouldn’t rise & lower after the first time. I filled an old body butter jar with the deodorant & apply it by hand. This works much better.
Milky with an espresso-like finish from the cacao, this looks & smells so good.
Coconut Oil Deodorant with Lavender & Cocoa Butter
perfectly fills a 6.7 oz container
- 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 4 vitamin E capsules
- ~20 drops lavender oil
- ~5 drops tea tree oil
- 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
- 1 oz cacao/cocoa butter, shaved & melted
Shave & melt cacao butter using a double broiler, or in the oven on a low setting, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, combine & stir coconut oil, vitamin E (squeezed from capsules) & essential oils together. Add arrowroot powder & stir until evenly combined & smooth. Add the melted cacao butter & stir again. Pour into a 6.7 oz jar or container with a wide mouth. Refrigerate to harden.
Due to the heat of summer, we keep ours in the fridge & remove it for a few minutes to soften before applying.
Have you made your own deodorant yet? How did it turn out?
15 Wed, 2011 § 2 Comments
It is more rewarding to make my own anything from scratch, even if it’s just to scrub away germs.
The ingredient list is sort of scary once you start looking more closely at conventional cleaners. The “natural” ones don’t always work as well, aren’t always as natural as they portray & can be on the expensive side. I like how my own cleaners & detergents work, feel safer using them & am reducing our household waste even more by making my own (ie reducing the amount of packaging we consume).
Before we left Utah, my spinning instructor gave me a few recipes, one of them being for dish washing detergent. I have been waiting for ours to run out, so I could finally give it a go.
Most of these ingredients come in large containers & can be used to make multiple batches as well as for other household cleaners, such as laundry detergent which I plan to make soon. At the bottom, I have noted where to find the less familiar ingredients.
Dish Detergent for Machine Washing
~$4.37 = less than $0.10 per load
- 1/2 citric acid
- 1 cup Borax
- 1 cup Super Washing Soda
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
Combine ingredients & store in a sealed container. Use 1 T per load. As a rinse aid, pour distilled vinegar into the aid dispenser.
Notes: After storing it, mine clumped together a little, but that may have been because I forgot the salt when I initially mixed it. Either way, it still dissolved in the wash & cleaned our dishes wonderfully. We washed & save an old, unmarked protein powder container as well as the scoop to store & measure our detergent.
A couple weeks ago, I was distracted searching store after store for the detergent ingredients & suddenly ran out of liquid dish soap. I realized I already had nearly everything I needed on hand, so I decided to throw together this liquid soap as well.
Lavender & Lemon Liquid Dish Soap
- 2 cups warm water
- 3 T liquid castile soap
- 2 tsp vegetable glycerin
- 2 T distilled white vinegar
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
- 5 drops tea tree oil
Combine ingredients in a bottle & shake gently. Use about 1 T per sink full.
Notes: I used unscented castile soap because it’s what I had, but feel free to use your favorite scent. Lavender would be nice. This is thinner & does not sud like traditional soap, but it will still clean dishes. It seems to do a better job at cutting through grease. You can leave out the vegetable glycerin if you can’t find it & don’t want to order it. The lavender, lemon & tea tree not only smell lovely but have antibacterial properties as well.
Citric Acid ~ Natural Food & Supplement Stores (most expensive here; I got it on sale $2.99/4oz), Nutsonline (best price $3.99/lb), Brewing & Wine-Making supply stores (good prices)
Borax ~ Target ~$4.00 for 76 oz (multiple batches)
Super Washing Soda ~ Ace $4.29 for 55 oz (multiple batches)
Vegetable Glycerin ~ Vitacost $3.99 for 4 oz (multiple uses)
Essential Oils ~ Natural Food & Supplement Stores – essential oils can be expensive; but because they are concentrated & you’ll only ever use a few drops at a time, they last a long time. (multiple uses)
Liquid Castile Soap ~ This is becoming easier to find; I’ve seen it at Natural Food Stores as well as Target. Again, it is sort of pricey, but I watch for it to go on sale & buy a large container. I use it to make all of my cleaning products, to clean wounds & for various other uses & have yet to go through my 32-oz container. A small amount goes a long way. (multiple uses)
Do you make any of your own cleaners or detergents?
21 Mon, 2011 § 10 Comments
The bulk food bins & I have bonded deeply the last few years.
You know it’s serious when your husband says,
“I’ll leave you to it – this is like Disneyland for you,”
before he darts off for the meat & cheese counters.
Buying bulk is less expensive & less wasteful, especially if you BYOB [bags]. It offers variety & a chance to try small quantities of something, by buying only what you need; this means your goods are likely fresher. It also seems fresher to pour my grains, seeds, beans, nuts & dried fruit from glass rather than plastic bags or containers.
We keep a lot of our bulk items in our favorite snap containers from World Market. I always have more bulk than I have containers for though, so I also store food in mason jars as well as reuse other food jars, which once held oils, pickles, etc. Food storage does not have to be expensive; in fact, it can be downright cheap.
As long as it stays fresh, I am happy.
Dave is right: the bulk section makes me embarrassingly excited. Whatever my food mood, I can generally fill it here.
Lately, my Spring [fever] mood has been light & distinct, using only a few ingredients to highlight simple flavors.
Five[or six]-ingredient grain salads.
[I have seen variations of these online but can’t find the links now. Sorry.]
Lentils & Barley with Cardamom
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 1 cup lentils
- 1 cup almond or hemp milk
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup coconut, toasted
- 1 tsp cardamom
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 cup cashews, toasted
Combine & rinse barley & lentils. Combine with water & milk & bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover & simmer 30 – 40 minutes until most of the water is absorbed. Toward the end of cooking, stir in cardamom, salt & raisins. Once water is absorbed & grains are cooked, allow to rest a few minutes. Stir in coconut & garnish individual servings with cashews.
Tarragon Vinaigrette over Quinoa & Roasted Beets
- 3 T champagne vinegar
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T tarragon [fresh if available; I used ~1 tsp dried]
- ~6 medium beets, roasted
- ~2 cups cooked quinoa
- pumpkin seeds, toasted
- sea salt & fresh pepper
Combine vinaigrette ingredients & toss with quinoa & roasted beets. Sprinkle with salt & pepper & top with roasted pumpkin seeds. Tarragon is my new favorite combination with beets. I can’t wait to get my hands on some fresh.
Do you shop the bulk section? What has been your favorite find?
9 Wed, 2011 § 4 Comments
Taking your own bags to the grocery store is one of the easiest ways to reduce waste & threat to wild animals & birds, yet I still see many people leaving the store with arms loaded with paper & plastic bags. :(
Hundreds of billions of plastic bags end up in our environment each year. Their production process consumes large amounts of non-renewable petroleum & uses toxic chemicals. They are not biodegradable. Only 1 to 3% of plastic bags are recycled. The cost of recycling these is high with end results not all that appealing or profitable for recyclers. Many bags sent to be recycled actually end up being shipped to countries where they can be cheaply incinerated under more lax environmental laws.
Reusing seems to be the only viable option.
I am really happy with my bags from Love For Earth & always get a lot of compliments when I am filling these lovely, mesh bags with fruit & veggies at the store or farmers’ market. They come in various sizes & colors & secure easily with a drawstring closure [I think you might have to specify if you want the drawstring]. Easy to clean with soap & warm water, I simply hang them over the sink to dry quickly. The mesh bags even store most produce in the fridge until you are ready to use it up.
My mom uses the mesh produce bags now. She seems to be a fan too.
Kara is wonderful to work with, & her bags are beautiful, high quality & some of the most reasonably priced I have found.
She was even kind — & creative — enough to make a bunch of durable bags for my bulk grain & legume shopping.
The only thing these are missing is a drawstring.
They will certainly last — & be well used — for a long, long time.
Have you found any wonderful, reusable bags you recommend?
9 Wed, 2011 § 7 Comments
We like the taste of almond milk & the convenience of buying it – heck, we like the fact we have the option of buying this. What I am not enjoying is throwing the packaging out every week.
So…we started making our own again, which is actually more delicious. It lives in a cute, glass carafe in the fridge & will keep ~5 – 7 days. I like the taste of the stuff from the store just fine, but it still tastes a little processed. Fresh tastes, well, fresh — & the foam —
oh the foam!
- 1 C almonds, soaked overnight to germinate
- 3 C water
Rinse & strain almonds & combine with water in a blender & blend. Pour through a cheese cloth into a container & squeeze all excess liquid from the almond pulp using the cheese cloth. You can leave it at that or combine pulp & liquid & blend again for thicker, creamier almond milk. I make ours with a small magic bullet, so it is triple & quadruple blended! :D
Save the pulp to sprinkle over salads, stir into cereal or morning porridge or try Dave’s favorite: bread chicken [or tofu or seitan I’m sure] with the shredded almond meal & pan fry. Keep almond pulp in the fridge for ~5 days; it also freezes well if you are not going to use it within 5 days.
You can also add vanilla or cinnamon or cocoa, a sweetener, etc for more flavor, though I usually keep it plain.
I won’t lie. Though worth it once made, Dave & I are both guilty of catching the lazy bug when it comes to grabbing soaked nuts from the fridge to whip up milk. Some days it takes a couple lonely cookies to finally coax me into making a new batch. I promise the thick & foamy result is worth the “hard work”.
What kind of milk do you drink?
30 Sun, 2011 § 1 Comment
A few years ago, Dave heard how many times we could circle the earth with the amount of plastic to-go utensils thrown away in the U.S. alone; so he immediately gifted us each with a set of To-Go Ware.
Made from durable, sustainable & naturally antibacterial bamboo, we loved these utensils right away. They hold up & are lightweight, which comes in handy for biking. Our set included a fork, knife, spoon & chop sticks wrapped up in some type of sustainable woven cloth; now the holders are made completely of recycled plastic. Unfortunately I think I threw my fork away! :( Dave let me borrow his, but I need to get a replacement.
Over the years, the rest of our lunch-packing components have followed suit, becoming less wasteful. Usually we pack our food in our smaller, glass containers. These can get heavy though, so I found cute, little stack-able tins — or tiffins — at World Market. They are perfect! A bit small though for someone who eats every couple hours, so I still need a mini glass container some days.
Another thing I have started stuffing in my lunch I grabbed when I bought microfiber cloths for the kitchen: a bright, coral microfiber cloth. A set of two small [about the size of a regular wash cloth] cloths were only $1 & are the perfect substitute for using napkins or paper towels to clean up. I should probably pick up another set to swap out between washes.
We also need to get more of these great little zip-up sandwich & snack bags from LoveForEarth. She was nice enough to send me a complimentary one when I referred my mom to her for produce bags. [More to come on this later.] A large sandwich fits snugly, & it is ideal for holding energy bites of nuts, dried fruit, crisps, etc. throughout the day or while hiking or bouldering.
My last trick before leaving the house is to throw a tea bag into my thermos cup. I fill it with hot water at work & enjoy it as I start my day. I think it is really important to have a cute or nice coffee/tea mug or thermos; this way you will want to actually use it rather than throw-away paper cups. Mine isn’t super cute, but it is special; it’s Dave’s from Yellowstone. I have seen these really cute “non paper” cups all over the place…they might be a bit heavy for biking though.
Tonight I prepped snacks & lunches, & it seems we are definitely set for the week. I will share these with you tomorrow & hopefully get more ideas from you.
Do you pack your lunches? How do you pack?