Aloe Vera Toner

Hello everyone! Sorry I haven’t put up a tasty recipe in a while… I have been developing some new recipes for you and will post them in the very near future. In the meantime, enjoy another selection out of Stephanie Tourles’ book Organic Body Care Recipes:

aloe-vera2

Aloe Vera juice makes a great all-over gentle toner. Contrary to popular belief, it’s a bit drying if used routinely and is thus most effective for oily, combination, and normal skins in need of calming treatment and gentle handling. Aloe is extremely soothing and healing when used to relieve environmental irritations and the itch from insect bites.

Note: Aloe vera may irritate very sensitive or dry, dehydrated, sunburned, or windburned skin. You can lessen the irritating effects and still benefit for its healing properties by diluting the juice or gel 50% with distilled water. Store the mixture in a small jar in the refrigerator and shake vigorously before each application.

You will need:

Pure aloe vera juice or gel, commercially bottled or fresh-picked leaf.

(I prefer this aloe gel from Mountain Rose Herbs. My Sweetie uses it everyday.)

  • recommended for: oily, acneic, combination, normal, or mature skin that is not dry; sunburned, windburned, or irritated skin
  • Use: daily 
  • Follow with: moisturizer
  • Prep time: none
  • Blending tools: none
  • Store in: refrigerator in original container or store cut leaf in a plastic bag.
  • Yield: 1 treatment

If using commercial juice or gel, follow label directions regarding storage; it almost always requires refrigeration. If using the gel from a leaf or your own alow plant, cut off the amount you are going to immediately need and store the remainder of the leaf in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. It will keep for about three days.

Application tips: Simply soak a cotton pad with the juice or gel and apply to skin as desired.

I don’t know about you, but I learned a lot about a lot from this recipe. I always thought aloe was a moisturizer … guess I was wrong! And now I know how to use it properly. 🙂

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

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I tried this recipe and it is phenomenal!!! I will be baking this and bringing it as gifts for friends and family (especially those trying to go gluten-free!) I only had 3 bananas when I went to bake it, so I used 1/2 cup of my homemade applesauce in the place of the fourth banana. It was SO amazing! This bread is decadent, moist … it’s basically like eating cake, but it is healthy! Although one loaf is about 2100 calories … the ingredients make it high quality and packed full of nutrients. Enjoy!!!

Paleo Update:  We’re in the home stretch!  Only 3 more days of our strict Paleo challenge.  How convenient that February 1st happens to land on a Friday (happy hour, grocery shopping, celebrating). 😉  Ready for some random Paleo insights?

  • When you’re living a Paleo lifestyle, it doesn’t really matter what meal of the day it is.  Let me explain… Traditionally, we think of breakfast as bacon, eggs, cereal, oatmeal, you know, “breakfast foods.”  Lunch may consist of a sandwich and a bag of chips or a salad with some fruit and then dinner is your iconic meat and potatoes with dessert.  Well, on Paleo I’ve come to notice that all of my meals follow similar structures.  Since we’re trying to eat mostly protein with healthy fats and a side of veggies, it doesn’t seem out of place to eat half a chicken breast with a scoop of avocado for breakfast or…

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Mellow Yellow Banana Cream Mask

I have been absolutely loving Stephanie Tourles’ book Organic Body Care Recipes. It is loaded with great information, an ingredient dictionary, and a whole bunch of simple and amazing recipes. I have chosen another one to share with you.

Bananas and cream will moisturize, hydrate, and pamper even the direst skin. Try to make this mask a healthy, yummy habit that your skin will relish. Note: Should a bit of this delectably scrumptious mask drip into you mouth, it’s fine to savor it!

What you will need:

  1. One 2 inch chunk of a very ripe banana 
  2. Cream, light or heavy
  • Recommended for: normal, dry, dehydrated, sensitive, sunburned, windburned, environmentally damaged, mature, or irritated skin.
  • Use: as desired
  • Follow with: moisturizer if necessary
  • Prep time: approximately 5 minutes
  • Blending tools: mortar and pestle or small bowl and fork
  • Store in: do not store, mix as needed
  • Yield: 1 treatment

Using a mortar and pestle or a small bowl and for, mash the banana with just enough cream until a smooth, spreadable paste forms.

Application tips: Safeguard hair and clothing prior to applying this potentially runny mask. Using your fingers, spread onto the face and throat, and recline for 20 to 30 minutes (mask will not dry). Rinse.

I hope you enjoy this all natural beauty mask!

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy!

~Sharon

Honey Massage Mask

HoneyRecipe from Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles

This is a delicious, sweet way to soften, deeply hydrate, and moisture your skin. This treatment leaves skin with a rosy glow resulting from increased circulation.

You will need:

2-3 teaspoons of fresh, raw honey at room temperature

  • Recommended for: all skin types, especially dry, dehydrated, sunburned, windburned, mature, or environmentally damaged skin
  • Use: as desired
  • Follow with: moisturizer if necessary
  • Prep time: approximately 1 minute
  • Blending tools: small spoon
  • Store in: do not store, mix as needed
  • yield: 1 treatment

Application tips: Honey thins and get runnier as it warms to skin temperature, so be sure to wear a shower cap or pull your hair off your face and neck prior to application. Using your fingers, apply a very thin coat of honey to your entire face and neck. When the honey is spread evenly, it will bead on your skin much like water beads on your car after a rain shower. Leave on for 15 minutes or longer while you relax. Before rinsing, for about 5 minutes, begin to pat your skin lightly with your fingertips in quick tapping motions, as though you are playing the piano. Rinse using a very warm, damp cloth.

I hope you enjoy this recipe from the new body care book I recently purchased. I can’t wait to try out more recipes and share them with you.

Until next time, I send you peace love and good energy.

~Sharon

 

Goat-Cheese Mushroom Tart

Oh boy is this a decadent treat! This mushroom tart I only whip up on special occasions … since it’s pretty fattening with the butter, cheese, and pastry. Everything in moderation  right? Right! However, it is a wonderful dish to serve at a vegetarian dinner party.

This recipe is from Step-by-Step Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Sue Ashworth.

Serves 4

  • 8 ounces frozen filo pastry, thawed (I used puff pastry because it takes less butter/fat)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 T hazelnut oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 12 ounces of mixed mushrooms, such as buttons, cremini, oyster and shiitake.
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 ounces of goat cheese, softened
  • salt & pepper
  • springs of parsley for garnish
  1. Cut the sheets of filo pastry into pieces about 4 inches square, and use them to line 4 individual tart pans, brushing each layer with melted butter. Line the pans with foil or baking parchment and baking beans. Bake is a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for about 6-8 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove the tart pans from the oven and take out the foil or baking parchment and beans carefully. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. (In the alternative, use whatever kind of crust you want or prefer. I use puff pastry. I simply thaw it and cut it to the size of my tortilla bowls and bake until golden brown.)
    Cut the puff pastry to the size of my tortilla bowl molds, pressed another tortilla bowl down on top and baked. #lifehacks

    Cut the puff pastry to the size of my tortilla bowl molds, pressed another tortilla bowl down on top and baked. #lifehacksSee! Pretty! Even without fancy tart dishes.

    See! Pretty! Even without fancy tart dishes.

  2. Put any remaining butter into a large saucepan with the hazelnut oil, and fry the pine nuts until golden-brown. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels. (I just cooked them in with my mushrooms – I was being lazy!)
  3. Add the mushrooms to the saucepan and cook gently, stirring frequently, for about 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.117119
  4. Spoon an equal amount of goat cheese into the base of each cooked tart. Divide the mushrooms between them, scatter the pine nuts on top.120
  5. Return to the oven for 5 minutes to heat through, and then serve the, garnished with sprigs of parsley. Serve with a small side salad … or in my case a side of Creamy Baked Fennel.125

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy.

~Sharon

Learn something new every day

There’s always room for improvement, right? I know I am certainly not perfect, and there are always things I can do to improve my life. I think one of the most important components of improving one’s life is through education. We are never too old (or young!) to learn new ways to take care of the precious vessel we live in. But, we are all too busy, right? Wrong! Small changes can make a big impact!

Recently, I have been catching up on some health/food documentaries that I have been meaning to watch for a while now. I highly recommend BOTH of these films: Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and Hungry for Change. Both movies provide great insight into what happens to our bodies when we eat. I won’t spoil the films for you if you haven’t had the pleasure of watching them.

My takeaways from these films:

  • We are an over-fed, undernutritioned society. We eat TONS of foods that have little to no nutritional value, and we consume little of the foods that have the most nutritional value. Example: TONS of cheeseburgers, and a tiny bit of salad.
  • JUICE MORE!!! In our house, we usually juice once a day, usually before dinner. We each drink a giant glass of leafy greens, cucumbers, and celery juice. Watching these films has prompted me to juice in the morning, too! So, before I go to sleep, I cut up apples, oranges, grapefruits, carrots, beets and other goodies, so that when I wake up – instead of morning coffee, I have morning juice!
  • Stop eating sugar!!! Not just refined sugar … but also: organic sugar, bread (yes, bread is metabolized as sugar!), pasta, rice, waffles, coffee (the way I drink it – it is SO sweet), potatoes (yes, potatoes are metabolized as sugar!), pizza, muffins, pancakes, rolls, biscuits, english muffins, and anything wheat. This one is going to be hard for me …
  • Replace my coffee with tea. This one is not going to happen over night. So far, I’ve gone four days with no morning coffee … I’ve had tea … and there have been no meltdowns. I did have an afternoon coffee yesterday … but at least I put it off until then. (PROGRESS not PERFECTION!)
  • Move your body and get it outside! We are humans. We were born to live in the wild – our bodies need to be outside in the fresh air walking or doing something. Even a 30 minute walk – walk your dog, take the kids to the park, anything! Get outside and get moving. If you do this 3 times a week (really, 1.5 hours is not too much to ask for the sake of your health) you will feel better and have more energy.
  • Never, under any circumstance, drink soda. The stuff is POISON in a can! The sugar is bad, the fake sugar is bad, the caffeine is bad, and the phosphoric acid deteriorates and weakens your bones.

How do you make progress toward your health goals? Have you ever seen either of the films I mentioned?

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy!

~Sharon

Eco Emi January 2013 – Unboxing

Check out what I got in this month’s Eco Emi box!

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy!

~Sharon

Sprouted Breakfast Oatmeal (No Cooking Required!)

Raise your hand if you actually wake up and prepare breakfast for yourself before leave the house in the morning… … … If you’re anything like me, your hand is not raised right now. I’m so busy that I need to get as much sleep as possible, and unfortunately, that does not mean waking up early to make a healthy breakfast. I had to come up with a solution I would eat. I turned to oatmeal.

There is nothing more bland and tasteless than oatmeal. I’ve never been a huge fan of it … a hot bowl of slimy goo that I was supposed to like because it was flavored and covered and sugar. Not for me. I’ve tried, in vain, for years to like oatmeal … but no success, until now!

So what changed? The oats. The method of preparation. The ingredients.

The method is simple … you make it the night before and BAM!!! – breakfast to go in the morning. No more waking up early to make yourself something. No more stopping on your way to work for something “quick” and unhealthy. This recipe makes enough to last us all week – we each take about 1/2 cup about 3 times per week. This breakfast gives you sustained energy to get up and going for the day.

What you will need:

  • a medium glass bowl
  • 1 cup of oats (I use steel-cut – but rolled is fine, too)
  • 2 cups of cashew milk
  • a few tablespoons of molasses or 1/2 cup of dates
  • a tablespoon or two of cinnamon
  • agave nectar, optional (for added sweetness)
  • 1/4 cup of fried fruit – we use cranberries but cherries or anything else will do fine.
  • nuts or seeds

The method: Do this the night before.

  1. Put the cashew milk in the blender, add the molasses or dates and cinnamon. Blend.20130127_180050
  2. Taste the mixture to see if it is to your liking – if you prefer a little more sweetness add a tablespoon or so of agave nectar.
  3. Put the uncooked oats into the glass bowl. Pour the cashew milk mixture on top. Stir to combine. Add dried cranberries. (I also threw in 1/4 c. flax-seed).20130127_18003920130127_180110
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours). The next morning you will have either a solid mixture if you used rolled oats, but if you used steel-cut you will have a slightly soupy mixture.

Personally – I prefer the slightly soupy mixture. I just scoop enough in my to-go container and bring it with me to work. I eat it cold. Sugar prefers to warm his up by microwaving it for a few minutes at work.

You can also vary this by adding nuts, seeds, other fruits, other spices … the sky is the limit.  Make your own custom flavor by changing the spice, sweetener, and add-ins.

How do you feel about eating sprouted oatmeal?

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Recycle, Re-use. Be crafty.

Due to a recent incident on my birthday, in which my car was broken into … and my very special friendship necklace was stolen … I found myself at the local bead shop perusing for an infinity charm to make some bracelets. Unfortunately, they did not have what I was looking for … but they did have some other beads I liked. So, $33 later I ended up at home with some waxed cotton string, a couple of strings of beads, a few jump rings, and clasps.

Being a Pinterest junkie, I have seen a ton of super cute DIY bracelet and jewelry ideas that I just had to try. Also, I should mention that I have a giant bowl on my dresser full of bracelets, cuffs and other old jewelry I have collected over the years. Soooo – I decided to raid my bowl for bracelets I don’t wear any longer to see which ones I could cut up and make into something new (because beads are expensive!).

And then, my living room started to look like this:20130114_121815Yes, that is my deviled-egg dish being re-purposed as a bead sorter.

So – I made these:20130114_122224 20130111_180436

The point of this post was not to show off killer crafty skillz … it was to get you thinking. It’s not just about making friendship bracelets from other stuff … it’s about recycling the old and making it into the new. Check out my Pinterest page to get some ideas about up-cycling your old things into new fun things that you will love!

How do you recycle and reuse in your house?

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

All-Natural Dry Shampoo

603Dry shampoo has been all the rage in the trendy beauty industry. Unfortunately, these products are sold in aerosol cans and/or full of harmful ingredients. Basically, dry shampoo is a substance that absorbs the oil at the roots so you can leave the house without looking like a greasy mess when you don’t have time to shower. I was a huge fan of the popular brands until I learned what I was spraying on my head. I thought baby powder would be a good alternative until I realized talc was a carcinogen (and why are we putting this on our babies???!).

I began searching for a natural alternative for when I’m having one of “those” days or when I simply feel like giving my hair a break from washing. I live in the desert so if I wash my hair too frequently it gets all dry and frizzy – so dry shampoo is my friend.

It should also be explained that the oil that your head produces is good for your hair – it is our bodies way of naturally conditioning our hair.

Here’s the big secret: Arrowroot Powder

It is commonly used in cooking as a thickening agent … but is has many other uses that you can read on mountainroseherbs.com. I also buy my arrowroot powder from Moutain Rose Herbs – they have great quality products for great prices.

To use as dry shampoo:

  • a small container
  • an old make-up brush or other type of small brush
  • a small amount of arrowroot powder
  1. Put the arrowroot powder into the container.

Note: This is to be used at the roots of your hair. I only use this on the top of my head. I start from a part above my ears and work from one side to the other.

  1. Make a part. Dip the brush into the powder, shake off excess, and then dab the powder onto your roots. If you have dark hair like me, don’t be alarmed at the excess white powder – it will go away.
  2. Keep making parts about 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart and work over the top of your head to the other side. Concentrate on the most visible parts.
  3. Then, take your fingers and massage your roots.
  4. The powder should not be visible at the point. If it is, you can run your brush through to get the excess out.
  5. Your hair should be looking pretty darn good. I will say – it doesn’t have that freshly washed look – but it does help tremendously and it will get you through the day.
  6. Style as usual.

Have you ever used arrowroot powder? What for?

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon