Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Real Crunchy Step: Tortillas

by Denise at Better Than My Best

Yesterday, I had about a pound of ground beef to cook and a bunch of peppers from my garden, so naturally I wanted to cook my favorite meal: stuffed peppers. However, Monday night is usually grocery store night and I was out of the rest of ingredients for stuffed peppers (onion, rice, garlic powder). I had to come up with plan B. Soft tacos! I have been wanting to make homemade tortillas for a while, and yesterday I did! I used the following recipe, found at www.sprinkledwithflour.com .

2 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbl shortening
1/2 cup water

mix flour, salt, and baking powder
cut in the shortening with a fork
add the water and form into a ball, if more water is needed, add 1 Tbl at a time (I used about 2.5 Tbl more)

Divide into 12 even balls
let sit for 15 minutes

heat a skillet or pan on medium/high heat
on a floured surface, roll out one ball of dough until it is paper thin and almost transparent. (Trying to get these into a circle took a little bit of practice). Cook for 20 seconds on each side. Transfer to a big ziplock bag. Roll out the next ball of dough and repeat.

*Bonus points if your one year old wakes up while you are cooking your first tortilla and requires you to hold her, forcing you to roll out and cook the rest of the tortillas with only one hand.

Although these were a little time consuming, they were really easy to make, and they were so good! This was a successfull crunchy step. Next time I will buy whole wheat flour and attempt to make a several dozen at a time and freeze what I won't use that day.

I made my tacos with Shannon's yummy Loco Taco Seasoning!

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Your Grocery Budget Toolbox Review and Giveaway!

Try not to hate me when I tell you my husband not only folds laundry, changes diapers, and does most of the dishes (and we don't have a dish washer) but he also handles most of the finances.  Yup I'm just your typical trophy wife.  You know how it is when you're a pastor's wife.  All the fame and fortune and such.  Despite my cushy life devoid of financial concerns I try not to spend too much at the grocery store.  I also try and feed my family as healthfully and organically as possible but I fail big time.  I switch from grocery store, to farmers markets, to Whole Foods and find myself in an endless cycle of trying to eat well and spend wisely but flopping majorly.
Enter in Anne Simpson from Quick and Easy, Cheap and Healthy the name alone should tell you it's right up my ally! Quick? Yes please! Easy?  Umm yeah!  Cheap?  You know it! and Healthy?  Woo hoo!  

 Anne wrote the ebook Your Grocery Budget Toolbox.  I have to admit I started reading it a little less than enthusiastically thinking, "Here we go, another person telling me that if I buy coupons off of ebay and stack them with the deals at 18 different stores across 3 states I can save money."  I'm so thrilled to tell you that this book is not that!!!  I read over the book in one sitting and then went back through it just taking notes.  There is so much to be gleaned from this book but I think the main thing I learned (thus far, I'm still going through it with a fine tooth comb!) are these words from Anne:  "It is more important to live within your means than to stress yourself out trying to make food stretch farther than it should, or digging into savings (or worse, going into debt) to cover the exorbitant cost of what you have been told is the “healthiest” food. Purchase as much healthy food as you can."

Wait!  What?  It's not an all or nothing deal?!?!?  Seriously I realize this should be really obvious but somehow it had never occurred to me that I could buy some organic meat each month but not every bite had to be organic if we couldn't afford it.  I can buy some raw milk or cheese but the rest can be "regular".  

This book is filled with excellent insights like that.  In addition are the challenges that Anne gives you throughout the book.  They are thought provoking and helpful.  It's like having a study guide within the book.    One of the things Anne challenges you to do is to write a meal plan.  I decided to go for it and write a month long meal plan for everything:  dinners, lunches, breakfasts, and snacks.  Actually I wrote out a 2 week plan with the idea of freezing things from the first two weeks to repeat the second two.  I have yet to shop for the items for this plan but I believe it will really save us money.  While the planning took a long time I think it will save a ton of time (and meal planning anxiety) in the next month.  

Another great thing is her examples.  Just when I would be thinking, "well that won't work for me because blah, blah blah, excuse, excuse."  She would show you a personal example and I would hang my head in shame.

This book was exactly what I needed.  Someone to hold my hand and say, "This is how you feed your family healthy without having to live in a cardboard box."  Let's face it, organic, grass-feed lamb chops just don't taste as good in a box.  

Good news!  If you want to feed your family more healthy but also save money you can get Anne's book, Your Grocery Budget Toolbox, by clicking here  use the code "shoe" for a 20% discount, or buy entering the give away below.  (If you just can't wait to buy the book you can still buy it now and if you win your money will be refunded!).

To enter the giveaway you must like Stories from the Shoe and Quick and Easy, Cheap and Healthy on Facebook.  If you already like them you can still enter just.  The other entries are optional and give you more chances to win!  Good Luck!!

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Real Crunchy Step: Deodorant

A certain little girl, lets call her Wistin, informed me a little bit ago that, "When I get hot my armpits sweat and it smells funny."  Ahh, growing into womanhood is such a beautiful thing isn't it?  I'm sooo glad we've entered this phase (or not!).  After I freaked out a little that she was too young for deodorant a voice of reason said, "You're better off starting her in the habit now before it becomes absolutely necessary."  Good point!  I mean no one wants to be the stinky kid.  I can just picture 11 year old Christin Wistin:  homeschooler, making her own hair accessories out of duck tape, still into barbies, and smelling funky.  She'll be so popular!  I can handle the "creativity" and "naivety,"  in fact I actually like that, but the smellyness, that's gotta be nipped in the bud.  
The dilemma I faced, however, is that, like most things, deodorant may be really bad for you and antiperspirant especially so.  It's almost like we were created to sweat and preventing it from happening could be bad for us!  The jury is still out on whether usibg deodorant/antiperspirant can cause cancer, Alzheimer, hormone problems, and a slew of other issues but frankly I'm not willing to take that chance with my little girl.  So off to the world wide web I went to find another solution. I found many solutions but some you had to put on with your hand like a lotion and I wasn't into that.  Of course I finally checked ww.keeperofthehome.org and found what I was looking for:  An easy to make, all natural, stick deodorant that smells pretty.  So without further ado here's the recipe:

  • 1/8 cup arrowroot powder (this is a fine white powder/flour often used as a thickening agent.  The natural food store near me sells it for $3.50/lb) $.11
  • 1/8 cup baking soda (helps absorb moisture) $.13
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil (has anti-fungal properties and no one wants fungal armpits!) $.70
  • 1 heaped Tbsp. beeswax  (I had to buy a gigantic bag of this.  Next time (like in my next life after I use up all this beeswax) I'll order pellets online.) $1
  • 8 drops tea tree essential oil (both tea tree and lavender kill yucky things) $.10
  • 8 drops lavender essential oil (I like the way this smells so I added a few more drops) $.15
  • 2 drops castor oil (makes the deodorant slide in the tube.) $.05

Melt all the ingredients together in a small saucepan on low, stirring often.  

Once it is all melted (it just takes a few minutes) pour the mixture into an old cleaned out deodorant tube and set on counter to cool.  

After a few hours it will be hardened and you can use it!  Super easy and smells nice!  You will still sweat with this but remember you're supposed to sweat!  This will keep you from being stinky and will absorb a little sweat. I used it on myself just around the house and it seemed to work well.  I plan on switching over after I use up all my conventional deodorant.
Cost wise this deodorant cost about $2.25 a stick (that's assuming you have a container) so it doesn't save you a ton of money, especially if you typically buy whatever deodorant is on sale but it is WAY better for you and took just about 10 minutes to make!  

As a side note:  If you are interested in trying any of the Real Crunchy items by me but don't want to buy say a pound of beeswax just send me a message and we'll work something out for a low cost:)

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Real Crunchy Step: Dove Body Wash

by Denise at Better Than My Best

I once told Danny not to buy me the impersonal gift of Bath and Body Works stuff for my birthday or Christmas. Because of this, he was really suprised when I asked for it for Mother's Day 2011. I think after 10-15 years of always receiving some sort of body wash or lotion, I had finally run out of it and was needing more. A little over a year later, I once again ran out of it. I have resorted to using the J&J baby wash for the past few days until I decided to look up a recipe for Body Wash. I found a great recipe at www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com .

3 bars of dove soap, grated (this part was NOT fun)
6 cups of water
heat until soap is dissolved
cool in a glass bowl
transfer to container

Soooooooooooooo easy.

It was difficult to tell when all the soap was dissolved because the mixture is white, so I had to keep spooning up some liquid to see if there was any soap flakes in it. It took a long time to cool down, and it thickened slightly as it cooled. I then transfered it into an empty apple juice bottle, and an empty J&J baby wash container. In the morning when I used it, it had thickened up even more, but was still a little thinner than regular Dove Wash. Overall I was happy with it. (This recipe is to be used with Dove Soap only. Dove Soap has a lot of moisturizers in it, if you use this recipe with another bar soap, it will be super thick. You can use another kind of bar soap, but you will have to play around with how much water to add).

This recipe made about 7 cups of wash, or 56 ounces. A 16 oz bottle of Dove Body Wash costs around $5. A 6 pack of Dove soap is around $7. If I bought 56 ounces of Wash, it would have cost me $17.50. I made it for $3.50. Sounds like a keeper for me!

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Blood Drive August 4th, 2012

American Red Cross

If you live in the area please consider donating in honor of Isaiah!  Without the selfless, unknown donors who have given in the past Isaiah would not be here today.  Finding the "right" blood can be very difficult and the more people who give the better someone's chances of survival could be.  Some of Isaiah's transfusions had to be delivered from across the country!  Giving blood doesn't take long but can make a huge difference!

Laurel Hill is hosting The American Red Cross Blood Drive
Saturday, August 4th from 8:30AM to 1:30PM
Donate in honor of Isaiah DeVol! 
Contact Alicia Sierra (609-532-6303) to reserve a time slot or you can sign up online at RedCrossBlood.org. Sponsor code is 022258
Thank you in advance! Blood supplies in the PennJersey region are extremely low this summer

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Thankfulness and Vomit

An exhausting golf cart ride
Last night was our last night of our trip to Solid Rock Day Camp.  The week had gone really smoothly (Lindsey got a little sick but she tends to do that midway through just about every trip we've ever been on!) but last night Ezekiel did something he's never done before:  threw up, in his pack n play.  It was nasty.  There were a lot of tears, his, Lindsey's who I ripped out of the shower so I could throw Ezekiel in , Christin's, who wanted me to read to her before bed, mine who just wanted to get the kids to bed.  The whole experience lasted about a half hour and felt very traumatic.  When we came to bed 3 hours later Ezekiel was still whimpering in his sleep.  I wanted to pick him up but I didn't want to wake him.  Around 3am Ezekiel woke up crying and George pulled him into our bed.  He tossed and turned for a few minutes before he snuggled up to me and fell into a much better sleep.  After that I couldn't fall asleep but not because I was uncomfortable.  I had a boy on each arm and was flat on my back unable to move (which is usually a huge issue for me because I can't stand to be "trapped" by anything and have occasionally freaked out over things like a stuck ring.  I might have a problem)  Anyway, I couldn't fall asleep because I was just so so filled with thankfulness.  I couldn't stop praying, "Thank you God he's here.  Thank you that on this night, when he's sick, Ezekiel is warm and comforted.  He's cuddled between his mommy and daddy.  He's not alone or in the care of nannies (wonderful as they may be it's just not the same).  Thank you Lord for letting me be here.  Thank you that I'm the blessed one who gets to clean up the puke and have this little hand in my back.  Thank you God for my son."  

These feelings of thankfulness just kept over whelming me and I couldn't close my eyes because then I couldn't see this miracle of a son God has given me!  What a great, smelly, smelly, night:)
Nana came to Solid Rock too!
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Real Crunchy Step: Blueberry Butter

Please note Jodi's "totes adorbs" overalls:)  She's really embracing the Garden State
PS.  I  just had to ask a group of teenagers, "how do you spell totes as in totally?"
I'm pretty sure they think I'm a gigantic dork.
It's blueberry season in South Jersey!  South Jersey is known for it's blueberries but I'd never picked them before.  Let me tell you people, blueberries are so easy to pick.  The bushes are right at picking height and the berries were plentiful.  Only one issue exists:  they are so yummy that certain people couldn't keep their fingers out of the buckets.  Warning TMI coming:  I actually changed a diaper that was entirely blueberries and bright purple. 
I had originally decided to make more jam but then I decided I wanted to do something different so I went with blueberry butter.  Now to be entirely truthful I have never, ever purchased any fruit butter so I can't really argue that this one saved me any money and I didn't do a price breakdown (I know I'm just slacking all over the place here.) but hey, it was yummy and that's all that really matters.  Oh and easy and you know how I feel about easy.  Bring it on!
So the first thing after picking the berries was to find a recipe.  I googled "blueberry butter" and came up with this recipe .(Warning:  She will make you want a Vitamix blender and they are wicked expensive.  Dear Vitamix, please send me a blender to review)  Ironically the author also picked her blueberries at Moods Farm Market in South Jersey and as everyone knows where two or more bloggers agree it is so.

So here is the very simple recipe:
Puree 4 heaping cups of blueberries and transfer to crockpot on low. 

Cook in crockpot with lid on low

After about 45 minutes, or so, (it's very precise) stir up and prop the lid (I layed my wooden spoon across the top.

After a few hours (3 or 4) add 1 Cup honey and the juice and zest of half a lemon plus a little cinnamon and nutmeg (I added too much)
Too much cinnamin and nutmeg:(

Cook another hour or so (again the timing is super important)

I wasn't thrilled with the consistency of mine so I threw mine back in the blender for a few minutes
and got the consistency I wanted. 
Original consistency

 Delicious and easy!!!!

This recipe made two jars.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Real Crunchy Step: Seasoning and Salad Dressing

by Denise at Better Than My Best

My new favorite salad consists of Romaine Lettuce, cucumbers (from my garden!), strawberries, feta cheese, and walnuts, topped with a balsamic vinegarette. Although store bought balsamic vinegarette is ok, I never find it to be as good as homemade restaurant dressing, so for this week's crunchy step, I decided to try to make my own.

I found a recipe for a creamy balsamic vinegarette, but it called for less than crunchy ingredients like mayonnaise and something called Morton's Nature's Seasoning. I could make my own mayonnaise, but it would only last a day or two, so I decided a little mayonnaise would be fine this time, but I couldn't bring myself to buy a seasoning mix. There are several different homemade recipes for this seasoning mix, so I picked one that was suggested to use with the homemade balsamic vinegarette dressing.

The Seasoning:

1/3 cup of salt
1/4 cup of black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup onion powder
2 1/2 TBL sugar
1TBL parsley flakes
2 tsp celery seeds

Since this would make a ton of seasoning, I halfed it. (There are 4 TBL in a 1/4 cup, and for the 1/3 cup of salt, I just eyeballed half of 1/3 cup). I also didn't have quite enough garlic powder. I definitely bought a new bottle a couple of weeks ago but could not find it. I'm sure the next time I go into my spice cabinet, it will be right in front of my face, laughing at me.

Have a cute little girl mix it up for you, until it looks like cigarette ash.

Watch out, all this seasoning mixed together kind of burns your nose.

I poured it into my empty garlic powder bottle. I hear this seasoning is good on all kinds of things. I'll have to google some recipes.

Salad Dressing:

Recipe from www.mylifeasamrs.com

4 cloves garlic, grated
3 TBL mayo
2 TBL lemon juice
1 TBL Dijon mustard
1 TBL Sugar
2 tsp Nature's Seasoning
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mix everything but the vinegar and oil. Then mix in vinegar. Then slowly mix in oil. I failed to read the mix in the vinegar and oil seperately, and I think it does matter as mine does not seem to be as creamy as the picture in the original recipe. I also thought it smelled amazing, but the taste was a tad strong. I might lessen the amount of seasoning the next time I make it.

Tonight my vegetarian Sister-in-Law, who introduced me to my new favorite salad, is coming over for dinner. I hope she likes the dressing!

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Monday, July 16, 2012

4 Months Old

I'm four months old!  So much exciting stuff is happening but the most important thing is:  I'M OFF ALL MY MEDS!!!!  No more iron drops, no more folic acid tablets, and best of all, no more Epogin shots!!!!!!!!!!  Mommy says they need to test my blood one more time in a week to make sure everything stays status quo  but as long as everythings good I can say, "buh bye" to CHOP Hemotology (it's a little weird to be excited to never see people again that you like:) 

I'm also gaining weight, as you can see in my picture.  I'm up to 13 pounds!  I've got rolls and everything (check out both my chins!)  I'm consistently rolling from belly to back and trying to do the back to belly thing. 

I love to talk.  Seriously, I take frequent breaks from nursing just to chat with Mommy and give big smiles.  I hate being alone.  I considered sleeping through the night briefly but then I changed my mind.  I don't want Mommy and Daddy to get lonely.  I mean they have a whole queen size bed!  I like my pacifer but I think I like my hands more.  The only problem is they don't exactly go where I want them too.  Sometimes they even pull my paci out.  That makes me angry.  I'm looking forward to month 5!!

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Real Crunchy Step: Homemade Yogurt

Did you know you could make yogurt?!  I did not.  In fact not only can you make yogurt but it's pretty simple too!  The yogurt and crock pot pretty much do most of the work. Who knew?!?!?  All you need is milk and a little bit of already made yogurt, either your own or store bought.  I used Stoneyfield Organic plain yogurt because that's generally what I buy.  I think by this point we all know that yogurt has live bacteria in it and that the bacteria is good for us. (We know this because it's on TV and if you see it on TV it must be true!!!)  Very simply put when you mix a little bit of yogurt with live cultures in with milk and provide a great environment (warmth followed by a slow cooling) you get more yogurt.

I followed the instructions I found here at Keeper of the Home (in case you haven't noticed this is my current go to blog for healthy recipes and information.)  My yogurt was little runnier than I would have liked but for my first time I was pretty happy with it.

2 TBS plain yogurt.
4 Cups milk (I used organic whole milk)

Step 1:  Heat up your crockpot on low
Step 2:  Measure out yogurt
Step 3:  Heat milk in saucepan to bubbling and foamy or 185 degrees (I just did bubbling and foamy because it was easier)
     *while the milk is heating move on to step four
Step 4:  Fill the sink full of cold water.  Once the milk is foamy put a lid on the pot and place the whole pot in the water (the water should come up about halfway and not get in the pot.) to cool.  The milk should be very warm to the touch (stick in a clean finger) but not so hot you pull your finger out and not cool.  The recipe I used said this takes about 10 minutes.  Apparently I have very cold water because after 5 I think mine was a little too cool (maybe this contributed to the runnyness)  Again, if you need to do this "right" then you're going to want it to get to between 90 and 110 degrees.
Step 5:  mix one cup of milk with the yogurt starter.  Pour the rest of the milk into the crock pot.  Mix the cup of yogurt and milk and then pour that in as well.
Here's where it gets a little weird.
Step 6:  Wrap your crockpot up in a thick beach towel (I guess it doesn't have to be a beach towel but a bath towel just seems weird.  Maybe a pool towel)  I used two thinner ones.  Unplug the crock pot.
Step 7:  Let it sit and don't mess with it for 6-10 hours.  I did 7 and 1/2.  Next time I will do longer and see how that affects the consistency.
Step 8:  Move the crock into the fridge.  Do not shake, stir, or otherwise disturb your yogurt.  I've read varying reports on how long to leave it from, "until it's cool" to "24 hours"  I left it for 12.
Step 9:  Pour or scoop yogurt into clean glass containers

All in all it was pretty easy.  The kids tried some with blueberries and honey and didn't love it but they aren't huge on eating yogurt straight up anyway.  George and I tried some with blueberry butter (more on that next Friday)  mixed in and that was pretty yummy.  It will definetely be great for smoothies.  I'll be adding this to my list of things to always make from scratch.

He likes it!
Cost wise:
2 Tbs Yogurt Starter $.13 (yogurt can be frozen so I bought a 32oz container of Stoneyfield Organic for $3.99 and used 1 oz.)
4 Cups Whole milk $2 ($3.99 for 1/2 gallon I used 1/4 of a gallon)
Total:  $2.13 for 4 cups of yogurt so just over 1/2 the cost of buying the yogurt in the store!  That's a pretty good savings.  Especially if you eat yogurt a lot or use it for smoothies or other cooking!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Real Crunchy Step: Stain Remover Plus

by Denise at Better Than My Best

A few months ago I was getting increasingly fed up with spending $20 or more on laundry detergent each month. I found a recipe for homemade liquid laundry detergent and I am never looking back. The only problem I have with the laundry detergent is it doesn't seem to have the extra oomph to get out the tougher stains like Tide does. Next time I make my detergent (which won't be for months because I made a ton in the first batch), I will use the Fels-Naptha soap which is said to have stain fighting properties.

Until then, I have been on the look-out for a seperate stain remover. I found a recipe for one that called for ammonia, but I wasn't as comfortable trying it (and apparently it isn't even sold in stores anymore). Then I found one that called for two parts hydrogen peroxide and one part blue Original Dawn dish detergent with pretty convincing pictures.

Hydrogen Peroxide is not toxic, not harsh, Earth Friendly, and is an awesome cleaner. To learn more about the benefits of cleaning with Hydrogen Peroxide, click here .

The Original Dawn is biodegradeable, and not harsh. On the bottle it says if you get it in your eyes, flush them with water. If you accidently drink it, dilute it with a cup of water. That doesn't sound so dangerous to me!

I first squirted the mixture on a few stains that were already set in and no other stain remover could get out. I was disappointed when it only lightened the stain. I think I will tackle it again but let the mixture soak in longer. (Side note, one of the items was pink, and the peroxide did not ruin the color).

Then I tried it on some kind of 1 year old food stain that was two days old, but not yet washed.

And it worked!

Then I tried in on my grout. I let it sit on the grout for five minutes, then I lightly scrubbed it in with a scrub brush, and sopped it up with warm water.



LOOK AT THAT!!!!! I was so giddy when I saw how well it works. For the first time in my life I am excited to clean the floors.

Cost: The 32 oz bottle of peroxide cost $0.99. The 24 oz bottle of Dawn cost $2.25, but I had a coupon with the very high value of $0.20 off (be jealous) so it cost me $2.05. I could fill my squirt bottle up 4 times with this, and have two parts of Dawn left over. That means I am paying less than $0.76 a fill up.

Pretty good for something that I basically want to put in my sprinkler and spray all over the inside of my house.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Happy Referralversary Ezekiel!!!

One year ago only God knew the laughter and silliness contained in those big brown eyes.  We are so blessed to have Ezekiel Aman Sterling DeVol in our lives and our family!  Check out what we were doing one year ago today when we got the call!


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Crunchy Step: Homemade facewash

Post by Storiesfromtheshoe administrator Shannon DeVol:

One of my very first non-food crunchy steps has been to make my own face "wash."  This isn't a sudsy soap kind of wash but an oil cleanse for your skin.  I started using this a couple of months ago and I can't imagine going back for a few reasons:  I love the way it makes my skin feel!  It saves me a TON of money.  It lasts forever.  It's so so simple (and you know I'm all about simple, and by simple I mean, whatever will allow me to be the most lazy:)

1 containter (I used an empty, cleaned out shower gel container)
3/4 container extra virgin olive oil
1/4 container castor oil
a few drops of tea tree oil (this helps with acne but you could substitute in other essential oils like lavender if you use it at night or maybe orange to help wake you up in the morning)

Spread a few drops on your face
Run a warm wash cloth under very warm water and cover your face for about a minute.  Consider this your daily 1 minute spa treatment:)  Wipe off excess oil with washcloth and your done!  No lotion needed.  Yup, you read that right!  This cuts out your face-wash and your lotion.  The money this saves is so ridiculous it's amazing.

To make this even more simple I just spread the oil on before I get in the shower and let the shower steam work it's magic!  I use it in the evening and it's amazing at removing makeup too!  Yet another thing you don't have to buy!

Warning:  If you've been using regular face wash and lotion it may take a week or two for your face to adjust to balancing it's own oils again.  After a couple of weeks if you feel your face is too dry add more EVOO.  Too oily? try more castor oil.

For more of the science behind oil cleansing and for some more elaborate recipes look here

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Real Crunchy Step: An Epic Fail

by Denise at Better Than My Best

They were supposed to be the lemons that kept on giving. I had grand plans of peeling the lemons and making candied lemon peels, making a lemonade concentrate, then doing something spectacular with the leftover sugar syrup I used to make the candied lemon peels.

Instead, they should have fallen under the "Lemon Law." When life gave me these lemons, it laughed at my attempt to make lemonade out of them.

I'm still not exactly sure where I went wrong, but because I've successfully made lemonade before, I've narrowed it down to either A - the lemons were no longer good to use(but still looked very pretty), or B - I should have used a citrus juicer and not a regular juicer. A regular juicer juices up the pith and seeds along with the juice, perhaps that made it more bitter?

The lemonade tasted like sickening sweet sugar syrup with a very bitter lemon squeezed in it. The candy is close to being ok, but the rind is still a little tough, and the left over pith is mushy. I haven't touched the left over syrup.

I find that many crunchy steps I take need a little tweaking, this one will just need to be re-done! Hopefully next time will be successfull.

Fortunately, the day was not a total waste. I picked this beauty from my garden and we had it for dinner:

It was the first squash of the season, and it was yummy.

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