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30 April 2018

Fudgy Black Bean Brownie Recipe Gluten Free No Flour

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GiantEagleSlashedPrices #CollectiveBias

I've always kept a tight food budget.  I make a meal plan each week and only buy what's on my list.

I use coupons when I can and shop the sale ads each week at Giant Eagle to make my dollars stretch further.  

Giant Eagle is slashing prices at participating stores in Ohio.  These are permanently lower prices and not sale prices, so I can save even more money every day on select items in dairy, pets, grocery, frozen, household, cereal, and snacks.  With over 5,000 items on the list, I'm sure several things on your weekly shopping trip have had their prices slashed.

Even though I do still follow the sales ad to plan my meals, now I can save money on the ingredients that I need to go with the sale items.  I can't tell you how much this helps my budget, so now I'll have extra money left over each week to put towards my son's college fund.

This also helps me because I don't have to wait for sales on several items.  I can just get them when I need them, so my pantry stays well stocked.  

We had a long week, so we were going to grill out on Sunday and just hang out and enjoy the warmer weather as a family.  Since the hubby normally takes on the task of grilling, I decided to make a special dessert for the family.


Black bean brownies have been on my list of things to try since I love chocolate, but I'm trying to eat better.  Thankfully, the beans, chocolate chips, and the coconut oil were part of the slashed prices at Giant Eagle.  I use a lot of coconut oil, so the new slashed price will definitely help my blogging budget as well as my food budget.


These brownies aren't just "good for black bean brownies"..  They are just good!  You'll never know they have beans in them.  

26 April 2018

Stress Relief Bath Salts Recipe With Eucalyptus and Spearmint

Friends, it's been a week.  This weekend is a big event in our town, so I've been busy helping a nonprofit get ready for Saturday.  I've also been spending hours helping the scout troop get ready for their event this weekend.  Of course, I'm still homeschooling and trying to keep my blog and social media going.


This month and this school year can not be over quick enough for me.  I am confident when I say that I am more excited for the end of the school year than the kids are!  

David will be done with his first year of college in about two weeks, but he has finals and a few more papers to turn in before that's over.  Then we need to concentrate on his high school subjects to get those caught up.  

Thankfully, on June 1, everything stops.  I can spend almost three months trying to catch up on everything that I've put off for nine months.  Somehow, I'm sure I'll be just as busy as I am now, but I can dream, right?

This stress relief bath salt recipe was made for weeks like this.  When I'm this busy, just taking half an hour to relax with no one asking me for anything or even talking to me helps heal my soul.  Just me, my thoughts, and a good playlist on Spotify.  

25 April 2018

DIY Itch Relief Solid Lotion Recipe

Use this DIY itch relief solid lotion recipe on bug bites, rashes, and other causes of itchy skin.  




It's spring, which means allergy season in my family.  When I was a kid, I didn't have any allergies.  When I hit my teen years, I started having seasonal allergies, mostly in the fall.  My doctor thought it had to do with the falling leaves and possibly some kind of mold that grew on the leaves.  I took some allergy medications and went on with my life.

Then we moved to the farm with 100s of trees of several different species.  I'm apparently allergic to one of those species in the spring, so I take allergy medications in the spring and fall.

Then a few years ago, I got a new allergy symptom.  Itching.  

We were working on cleaning leaves on the property.  That area hadn't been touched in about eight years, so there were a lot of dead leaves on the ground and things decaying.  

The next day, my hands started itching.  Within a few days, I was itching nonstop from my neck down to my toes.  I itched so bad for a week that I could't sleep, and I was bruised and bleeding from scratching.

By the time I got into a doctor, I had been itching nonstop for six weeks.  No amount of allergy medication or Benadryl would give me relief.  The doctor believed that I had breathed in something and that it wasn't from touching something.  My doctor gave me a steroid allergy shot that finally got me relief.  

That's when I found out that I am sensitive to steroids.  The aftereffects of that shot lasted six months.  

That led to more doctor's appointments and more medications.  I was a mess.

Now each spring, the itching starts in my hands.  I am terrified that it will spread, so I made this DIY itch relief sold lotion recipe to use when I feel the itching.


I made a solid lotion because it's easy to make and easy to use.  Since it doesn't have water in it, I don't have to use a preservative.  It's also easy to take with me on the go without worrying about it leaking or spilling.  

This itch relief lotion also works well on bug bites and other minor skin irritations.

23 April 2018

How to Make a Hot Oil Treatment for Hair


Learn how to create your own custom hot oil treatment no matter what type of hair you have.  

Last weekend, the boys were camping, so it was a fairly slow weekend.  My daughter and I made it a girls weekend and watched chick flicks on the big screen in the living room with the lights off and did girly things like paint our nails and put weird stuff on our hair.

I'm overdue for a hair cut, so my hair is really getting dry and looking dull.  Normally, I use a hair mask, but I needed something that would give me some serious moisture, so I decided to use a hot oil treatment.


I had some parsley infused flax oil to use, but I needed a little boost for some shine.  I added some carrot seed oil because it's high in vitamins A and E to nourish my hair.  

I was going to create a brand new recipe, but then I thought how that will only help some of my readers.  You all have different hair needs, and you may even have some ingredients at home.  Why not teach you how to make your own hot oil treatment for hair for any hair need?  

No matter what your hair type is, no matter what your hair needs are, you can use the oils, herbs, and essential oils that are best for your hair type.

20 April 2018

Essential Charms Review and Giveaway Ends 4/4/18

Thank you to Essential Charms for providing me with a necklace and for sponsoring the giveaway.

I love using essential oils as a natural way to promote health and wellness.  I used to use a diffuser for aromatherapy, but then everyone in the house was stuck with the same oil.  And there are some times when I atually have to leave my house, and I can't take my diffuser with me unfortunately. 



Essential Charms recently contacted me to review one of their necklaces, and they are generously giving one to one of my lucky readers!

ABOUT ESSENTIAL CHARMS


Essential Charms has bracelets, necklaces, and earrings that diffuse essential oils.  All of their jewelry is made with lava stone to diffuse the oil.  


Traditionally, lava is associated with strength, power, and fertility.  It's also said to help provide stability in your life.  All important qualities for today's woman.  The lava they use is ethically sourced from the Pacific Ocean.  

Just drop one or two drops of essential oils or a blend on the lava stone.  The stone absorbs the oil and releases it over the next three to five days.  

When the scent fades, you can add more oils or wash the stone with a mild soap, dry, and use a different oil.  


Essential Charms sent me the perched owl charm and necklace, and it's adorable!  It's big enough to be seen without being too large.  I really like the long necklace so I can slip it off and on without fussing with a clasp.  I have about 5 minutes to get ready in the mornings, so the less time it takes, the better.  



Essential Charms is giving away one necklace of the winner's choice to one of my lucky readers!  Open to US residents 18 and older except where prohibited by law.  Good luck!

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18 April 2018

Copycat Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix Recipe

Save money with this copycat Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix recipe.

During the summer, I go through a lot of Italian dressing.  We use it on salads, in marinates, and for other summer recipes.  

Even buying the packets and making my own was getting expensive.  I do buy generic, but there's just something about a good Italian dressing that most generic brands don't have.


I started making my own copycat Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix recipe because it's much more economical.  I grow some of my own herbs, or I get them in bulk at an Amish bulk food store.  

Even when I buy my herbs and spices, they are so much fresher than what is in the store.  This makes all of my food taste better.

In the summer, I practically live on salads.  We have a garden, so I'm always picking right from the garden to serve with dinner.  I use Italian often because it's light.  I like the vinegary taste versus using a creamy dressing.

I also use Italian dressing as a quick marinade.  One of my kids' favorite summer foods is Italian dressing marinated chicken on the grill.  I made it last weekend, and it was all gone that night!


Another great way to use Italian dressing for a quick side dish is to cut up fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions.  Cover with Italian and let sit for a few hours.  In the summer, I like making sides early in the day, so this is perfect.

I use this dressing for pasta salad.  I boil whatever kind of pasta is on sale, cut up a bunch of veggies, pour over the dressing, and let it sit in the fridge.  Again, super easy, and I can make it early in the day to free up my evenings.  

For zesty oven baked chicken, combine 2 tablespoons of this Italian dressing mix with 1 cup of breadcrumbs.  Use that to coat your chicken.  Yum!

This can also be used a rub for chicken, but I haven't tried it yet.  It sounds delicious though.

16 April 2018

DIY Brightening Sheet Mask Recipe for the Face

Brighten your skin with this easy DIY sheet mask recipe with ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen.  

Sheet masks are one of the best new trends in beauty in my humble opinion.  I love having them around because they don't work well and don't dry out.  There are few things worse than finding a mask that you love only to find out that it dried out before you could use it up.  

I do a mask every week, but I mix up what I use.  I have large pores, so I usually do a charcoal or a bentonite clay mask.  When my skin looks dull, I look for a DIY brightening face mask recipe.


I love this mask because it made my skin glow, and it softened my skin without making it oily thanks to the dry oil that I used.  


13 April 2018

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Infused Water Recipes

Make this delicious infused water in your Instant Pot Pressure Cooker for a healthy addition to your water.

We drink a lot of water in our house.  We very rarely have juice, and none of us really like to drink any type of milk.  The kids like flavored water (thank you Aldi for having dye free drink mixes!).  I prefer infused water.

  

I usually just have some lemon in my water.  When I try to infuse with cucumber or any other fruit, we get too impatient and drink the water long before it's actually infused.

Since I am currently obsessed with my Instant Pot pressure cooker—Seriously, is there anything that it can't do??—I decided to make some flavored concentrate for my water.

I don't mind drinking water all day.  I prefer water to other drinks, and I know I feel better when I drink enough water.  But after a long day of working, I really enjoy a flavored drink while I'm relaxing.  Hopefully soon, I'll be sitting on the patio relaxing while I sip my Instant Pot pressure cooker infused water recipes!

My kids, of course, prefer to drink something with flavor.  I don't care as long as it isn't filled with sugar or artificial dyes.  They will add some of the infused water concentrate to their waters or put in a few of the ice cubes for some extra flavor.   

The possibilities are endless with these infused water recipes.  You can make them however you want with whatever fruit you want.  You can even add herbs to your fruit.

I made two kinds of water this week: Peach raspberry and cucumber lemon.  What I love about this easy infused water recipe is that it makes a concentrate.  You can freeze it or use it right away, so you can buy fruit when it's on sale or when it's ready to pick and make a few batches to freeze for later.


The peaches I used were from our orchard last summer.  I can them, but if I have a few cups leftover, I just freeze them.  They had thawed for about half an hour when I put them in.  I don't see why you can't add frozen fruit, but it might take longer to get to pressure.  

Before you make this, I suggest using a separate Instant Pot ring or washing the one you have.  If you make this after making a roast, I guarantee you'll be drinking roast flavored water.  As much as I love roast, I don't want the essence of roast in my water! 

I have two rings, one for sweet and one for savory.  I bought a set with different colors so I know which one to use.  


INSTANT POT PRESSURE COOKER INFUSED WATER RECIPES

Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 to 1.5 cups fruit or herbs (see below for ideas)
  • 5 cups water 
  • 6 quart Instant Pot pressure cooker
  • Strainer for Instant Pot

DIRECTIONS


STEP #1


Prepare your fruit by cleaning it.  I clean my fruits and veggies by soaking in 3 parts water to 1 part white vinegar solution.  

STEP #2


Place the strainer in the bottom of your Instant Pot.  Add fruit and herbs.  Cover with 5 cups water.  If you don't have a strainer, you can make it without one.  You'll need to strain the water with cheesecloth or a strainer.  


STEP #3


Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.  When done, quick release.  I use a spoon handle to release it.  Take the lid of and let sit until cool.  Carefully remove the strainer and discard veggies (or feed them to your chickens or put in your compost pile).  

STEP #4


The infused water will be strong.  I use up to 1/4 cup per 8 ounce glass of water.  


You can also freeze the concentrate.  Then let them melt or just add them to a glass of water.  They would look really pretty in a drink for a party.  I prefer these silicone ice cube trays because they are so easy to unmold.  

I poured my infused water into my 8 quart Pyrex measuring cup.  If you do any canning or make jam, this is an absolute must.  I have two of them that I use constantly.  In fact, if you come over, there's a good chance it's sitting on my counter drying because I seem to use it almost every day.  


I plan on using the peach and raspberry concentrate in iced tea this summer.  I think it will taste amazing and be very easy to whip up when company stops by unexpectedly.  

Normally, I'm all about doubling recipes to save time.  Although I'm fairly comfortable using an Instant Pot, I don't mess with adding extra ingredients because I don't want a disaster.  

I've made batches back to back to back letting the unit cool long enough to dump the fruit and water using hot pads, rinsing out the pot, and starting over.  

I used a 6 quart Instant Pot.  I know there's a bigger size, but I don't know if you can increase the ingredients.  

INFUSED WATER RECIPES


You can really get creative with these recipes.  As long as you use about 1 to 1.5 cups of fruit, you should be good.  Here are some recipes to get you started.

  • Blueberry Lemon 1 cup blueberries plus the juice of one lemon 
  • Peach Raspberry 1/2 cup raspberries plus 1 cup peaches
  • Cucumber Lemon 1 cup cucumber plus juice of one lemon
  • Peach Berry 1 cup peaches plus 1/2 cup mixed berries
  • Strawberry Mint 1 cup strawberries plus 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • Apple Cinnamon 1 cup apples plus 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Orange Basil 1 cup orange slices, orange zest, and 5 basil leaves
  • Orange Blueberry 1 cup blueberries, orange zest, and the juice of an orange
  • Cucumber Mint 1 cup cucumber plus 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • Pineapple Basil 1 cup pineapple plus 5 basil leaves
  • Strawberry Lemon 2 cup strawberries plus the juice of one lemon
  • Cherry Limeade 1 cup cherries plus the juice of one lime
  • Mango Pineapple 1/2 cup mango plus 1/2 cup pineapple
  • Grape Orange 1 cup halved grapes plus the juice of one orange
  • Watermelon Basil 1 cup watermelon plus 5 basil leaves
  • Watermelon Mint 1 cup watermelon plus 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

BENEFITS OF INFUSED WATER


We all know what we need to drink water every day for our bodies to work properly.  Drinking infused water can help you meet your water goals without adding sugary drinks.  If you don't like water or get bored with water, this can help you stay on track.

Water soluble vitamins like B vitamins and vitamin C do dissolve and get transferred to the water, so you'll be able to boost your vitamin intake by drinking these Instant Pot pressure cooker infused water recipes.


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How to infuse water in your Instant Pot pressure cooker + several recipes to try.

Honey and Lemon Natural Cold Remedy
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Chia Seed Pudding Recipe



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11 April 2018

DIY Essential Oil Diffuser for the Car

This DIY essential oil diffuser for the car is easy and inexpensive to make.

I have an essential oil diffuser in my house and one in my office.  I have few diffuser necklaces so I can take my oils with me wherever I go.  But I didn't have one for my car.


Normally, I just diffuse for myself; however, sometimes we all need the effects of the oils.  Especially on long road trips, if you know what I mean.

Since I have a craft room full of supplies, I decided to make my own.  I actually had everything in my stash, so I didn't even have to buy anything.

This car essential oil diffuser relies on air flowing through your vents to work.  They do work well, but the scent doesn't last as long as a USB powered diffuser.  That's fine with me.  I usually just want my oils to last for a few hours for the trip anyway.

Do not rely on essential oils to keep you awake while you are driving.  If you are tired or drowsy, pull over immediately and have someone else who is not tired drive or take a short nap.  Always be safe!

09 April 2018

Best Essential Oils for Cleaning + Recipes

These are the 10 best essential oils for cleaning your home.  Plus, there are bonus natural cleaning recipes you can make to clean just about anything in your home!

I don't spring clean.  Between work, homeschooling, theater, scouts, and everything else, I just don't have the time.  I used to spend the week of spring break cleaning, but we really need that time to relax and destress.


Now I spend the first two weeks of June decluttering and cleaning because school and scouts are over for summer.  I'm not stressed, and it gets the house scrubbed before our annual Fourth of July party.  

When I spring clean, I clean the house from top to bottom.  Every cabinet and every closet gets decluttered.  I clean every surface. Every nook and cranny.

I've been using natural cleaners for over 10 years.  My younger son has asthma, so I can't use chemical cleaners around him.  After I stopped using chemicals, I noticed that they really bother me when I'm around them.  I didn't notice just how much they were affecting me until I wasn't around them for a while.

I use baking soda and vinegar to clean a lot.  Baking soda is a mild abrasive and natural degreaser, and vinegar is a mild acid that works well on our hard water spots.  When used together, I can clean almost anything.

Sometimes I like to give my cleaning products a boost with the best essential oils for cleaning.  Here are my top 10 oils and some recipes that you can make to naturally clean your home.    

06 April 2018

Coconut Milk Soap Recipe with Lavender Essential Oil

This coconut milk soap recipe with lavender essential oil from guest blogger, Rebecca D. Dillon of Soap Deli News, is an easy way to add coconut milk to your everyday beauty routine.

You can hunt for the perfect homemade face and body soap, but with this luxe coconut milk soap recipe you won't have to. This natural homemade soap recipe is the perfect choice for dry, maturing and even sunburned skin. And with warmer weather on the way, you don't want to skimp out on the best moisturizing body bar possible.



Why Choose Coconut Milk?

Coconut milk offers a variety of skin care benefits. Adding it to my coconut milk soap recipe is an easy, natural way to take advantage of its skin care benefits on a daily basis. Created by straining coconut meat blended with water, coconut milk is rich in vitamins and fatty acids that skin loves. It's also a wonderful natural moisturizer when used on both skin and hair both in soap or by itself.


Coconut milk's natural antibacterial properties mean it's also useful at preventing or treating acne. While the high concentration of vitamin C and copper lend their anti-aging properties. I also love coconut milk for soothing sunburns as well as to moisturize my own often dry and maturing skin. If the skin care benefits of coconut milk sound perfect for your skin type, then you'll love my natural coconut milk soap recipe with lavender essential oil.

Other Must Have Ingredients for Dry and Maturing Skin

Because both dry and maturing skin need maximum moisture, I formulated my coconut milk soap recipe with skin conditioning carrier oils like chia seed oil, shea nut oil and walnut oil.

While chia seed oil isn't as commonly used in soapmaking recipes as other carrier oils, it's definitely one to consider more often. Rich in essential fatty acids, powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients that are prized in anti-aging skin care products, chia seed oil really helps to create a luxe soap that's suitable both for both your face and body.



Shea nut oil, also known as fractionated shea butter, and walnut oil also lend their own moisturizing and skin soothing properties to this coconut enriched beauty bar.


Lavender and Coconut Milk Soap Recipe


Ingredients:





Instructions:

STEP #1


Like my milk and egg sea salt shampoo bar recipe with ginger essential oil that I shared recently on my own blog, Soap Deli News, the coconut milk for my coconut milk soap recipe must be chilled prior to use. To do this, simply measure out the coconut milk called for in the recipe in fluid ounces into a heat safe, non-aluminum container and freeze until a thin layer of ice forms on top. Then mix briefly until slushy.

STEP #2


While you are waiting for your coconut milk to chill, collect all of the other soapmaking ingredients and equipment you’ll need for making my coconut milk soap recipe. This includes proper eye protection, long sleeved clothing and gloves.

Additionally you should also double check any containers you are using to be sure they are heat safe. None of your equipment, containers or your utensils used for soapmaking should be aluminum. Stick to stainless steel, Type 5 polypropylene plastic and tempered glass.


If you’ve never made homemade soap before, I recommend reviewing my cold process soapmaking tutorial before getting started. This will help you gain a better understanding of the process as well as help you determine you'll be comfortable making my lavender and coconut milk soap recipe as your first batch of cold process soap.


STEP #3


Once the coconut milk is slushy/icy you're ready to begin. Start by using a digital scale to weigh out the soapmaking oils into a heat safe container. Then, depending on the container used, either heat the oil until melted at reduced power in the microwave, in a double boiler or over medium-low heat on the stovetop.

This process is primarily to melt the coconut oil, if solid, as well as to warm up any oils that may be cold. If your coconut oil is already liquid, then combine the oils and heat to around 95°F. Then remove from heat and set aside.

STEP #4


In a separate container, weigh out the lye called for in my coconut milk soap recipe. Pour the lye into the cold coconut milk and then stir until all the lye has dissolved. Set aside.

STEP #5


In the interim, measure out the Himalayan pink salt and purple mica (for color if desired) and weigh out the essential oils.

STEP #6


Once both the coconut milk/lye mixture and the soapmaking oils have both cooled to around 90°F, you are ready to make soap. Add the salt to the coconut milk/lye mixture and stir. Then, add the mica to your soapmaking oils and mix briefly using an immersion blender.

STEP #7


Now slowly pour the coconut milk and lye mixture into the liquid soapmaking oils. Mix using the immersion blender until reach a light trace then add the essential oils you weighed out previously. Continue mixing your coconut milk soap batter until you reach about a medium trace. Set your mold onto a cutting board, then pour evenly into each of your mold’s six cavities.

I used this silicone chrysanthemum mold for my lavender and coconut milk soap recipe.



STEP #8


With a cutting board under your mold, gently pick up the cutting board and the mold together and tap lightly on the counter several times. This will help release any air bubbles that may be present in the soap.

Lightly cover the mold with parchment paper or foodservice film and set aside overnight. Once your lavender and coconut milk soaps are firm, unmold then allow to cure for four to six weeks prior to use. (If your soap does not gel it's possible you'll need wait a few days prior to unmolding.)


More Skin Care Recipes to Try

If you discover that you love the skin properties of chia seed oil as much as I do, then you may want to try some of my other skin care recipes that utilize chia seed oil. These recipes include the following:
Alternately, I also offer several other coconut milk recipes that you can try.

Coconut Milk Soaps You Can Buy

If you're not quite ready to make my coconut milk soap recipe, you can buy similar soaps instead! Each of these handmade artisan coconut milk soaps are a dream and can help to improve skin texture and promote skin health.
You can discover more of my homemade soap, bath, body and beauty recipes at Soap Deli News blog

Or follow me on all of your favorite social media platforms including G+TumblrFacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Don't want to miss a post? Subscribe to Soap Deli News via email for future updates, DIY projects and recipes.

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Coconut milk soap recipe with lavender essential oil.


Basic Bastille Soap Recipe
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