Morning Yoga: Greeting the Day

I’ll be honest. Thirties aren’t quite like twenties. I used to jump out of bed with “morning person” energy. Eat a banana with peanut butter. Run 3-4 miles. Eat a couple bowls of cereal or make a big breakfast. And smile all the while. At least that is how I remember the majority of mornings from the last decade.

Now? I am thirty. Only since August. But I wake with more freedom than ever. Good intentions to find relaxation, peace & gratitude as I greet the day by following my well-thought out morning routine: drink water with lemon oil, meditate twenty minutes, 20-60 minutes of yoga or other exercises to wake up the body, daily affirmations, and a light & protein dense breakfast. Ideally, followed up with 10-20 pages from my current self-development book (check it out, it’s a good one!).

This does happen sometimes. Even for a week or two at a time. But today? Like many days… I wake up feeling thirty. Anyone over forty just laughs in that “you have no idea” way when I say this. But thirty is more work than twenty. The body is stiffer. The urge to wrap in a warm blanket, make a cup of tea & scroll through social media posts is a very tempting morning routine. This is all fine & well until it rolls straight into work and forgetting about any sort of morning self-care.

So this is my current struggle. Making time to take care of the self: physically, emotionally & spiritually. Maybe you can relate. So often other people, priorities & demands pull us away from self-care. So today? I challenge you to spend 15 minutes doing something kind, pleasurable, & loving for yourself. I’m going to start today with yoga…

Yoga connects the mind, body & spirit. It allows us to awaken fully, feel alive & grateful for this day. Whether one pose, a couple minute home practice or 75 minutes at the studio, I have never regretted doing yoga. This gentle, challenging & holistic practice can benefit people of so many different lifestyles & health needs. I often turn to this “Good Morning Yoga Sequence” when I am struggling to get moving.

Oh, & be sure you love your mat, feel home there. This is how I keep mine happy, clean & smelling fresh…

Yoga Mat Spray Recipe

Yoga Mat Spray

Ingredients

Yoga Mat Spray Recipe

 

Directions

  1. Add 2.5 ounces water to glass jar (I eyeball about 1/3 of the jar full).
  2. Add 5 drops lavender & 3 drop melaleuca (to switch it up, try subbing other favorite essential oils with similar cleansing properties).
  3. Fill to top with distilled water. Add spray top.
  4. Shake. Spray. Wipe clean (test a small part of your mat first).

 

Peace with Yoga

Apple Pie – not like mama cooked it!

I must confess. A few things. But don’t take this disclaimer as a discredit for my pie. It is DELICIOUS & I’m super proud of creating it. However, I think you should know my mother bakes the best apple pie. In the world. Truly. My great-grandmothers were both very talented pie makers. They both lived in rural Indiana & passed the skill and love of pie making onto my mom. My brother picked it up for a season, but so far no one in my family has adopted the tradition.

It isn’t because I don’t want to, but replicating it seems impossible. And furthermore, I can’t get myself to bake with the ingredients of my great-grandmothers. There are many reasons for this, but that is a discussion for another day.

Lastly, I don’t follow recipes. I substitute things that shouldn’t be. I don’t measure – that is likely blaspheme in a true baker’s kitchen. Anyways, all that to say, we are lucky to have this recipe. When I bake it is a wild experience & you never know the outcome. When things don’t turn out it is no loss. But when they do, I am always a little sad I can never replicate it as I cannot remember what I did the first time around. This time it was superb, so I decided to quickly re-create & record the ingredients.

Do you like pie? Do you enjoy healthier versions of traditional favorites? And do you enjoy the immediate gratification of a fast & simple dessert? Good, you will love this.

Apple Pie

Apple Pie – the simple & (almost) sugar-free way

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 heaping Tablespoon flax meal
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • parchment paper
  • pie dish
  • 4 medium size apples (pink or green)
  • 2 Tablespoons local honey
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons grassfed butter
  • cinnamon to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix flax & coconut milk in large bowl. Whisk until it forms an egg-like consistency.
  3. Add coconut oil & coconut milk. Mix well.
  4. Add flours & pinch salt. Stir until combined.Apple Pie
  5. Roll dough onto parchment paper until about 1/8″ thick. Place into pie dish.Apple Pie dough
  6. Slice apples as thin as possible.
  7. In a bowl, mix apple slices, honey, coconut oil, butter & cinnamon.Apple Pie
  8. Pile apple filling onto center of crust & fold edges up over the apples. Apple Pie PrepApple Pie Crust
  9. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn oven up to 425 degrees and bake 25 minutes.  Apple Pie
  10. Once crust is firm to touch & lightly browned, slice & enjoy!Apple Pie
  11. Be sure to save a piece for tomorrow’s breakfast 🙂

Apple Pie Slice Day 2

DIY: Laundry Soap Recipe

Happy Weekend!

Does anyone else do laundry all day on the weekend? I try to multi-task but end up with things hang drying all over the place and it feels like a full day venture! Despite the time consumption, I actually really like doing laundry. Something about everything all fresh & clean. Re-hung in the closet so I again have a choice of everything I own. I think I just like things in their right place, and the closet (not the dirty hamper) is where my clothes belong! If you have seen my messy closet you might be surprised at that admission…

Point is, as I look around my home filled with partially dry delicates, I just realized I haven’t posted my DIY laundry soap recipe yet. Whoops! I love how super simple this recipe is to make, no funky chemicals or perfumes & the fact that I get to choose a different scent for each load by adding essential oils! My favorites are the citrus oils for towels, melaleuca for heavily soiled items & lavender for delicate clothing. Hope you try it and like it!

DIY Laundry Soap Recipe

DIY laundry soap

Ingredients

-5 gallons hot H2O
-1 bar natural soap (unscented Dr. Bronners)
-1 cup borax
-1 cup washing soda
-5 gallon bucket
-90 drops certified therapeutic grade essential oils
(30 drops each of lavender, lemon & grapefruit OR clove)

Directions

1. Grate soap bar with coarse cheese grater
2. Boil grated soap & 1/2 gallon H2O in large pan to melt & combine
3. Add 2.5 gal hot H2O, soap mixture, washing soda & borax to 5 gal bucket. Stir to dissolve
4. Add remaining 2 gal of hot H2O to fill bucket. Stir & allow to sit overnight
5. Transfer to glass storage containers & add essential oils

**If storing in plastic, instead of adding essential oils to mixture, add 1-2 drops per load directly to washing machine.

Summertime Chili Verde Chili: crockpot style

What better way to beat this heat than a steaming bowl of spicy chili? Okay, I’ll just let you know now. My cooking is as eclectic as the rest of my lifestyle – wardrobe, home décor, hobbies, music – I am all over the map. I like to think of myself as well-rounded. It is the middle of the summer & I suppose I should be eating salads & keeping things light. Well… chili sounded good. Actually my dear friend & co-worker inspired this recipe when I was drooling over her lunch instead of enjoying my own!

If it is too weird, or too hot, feel free to wait a few months for cooler weather before trying it! However, I recommend whipping it up in the morning for an easy mid-week dinner. Plus, the leftovers will keep your lunches simple & healthy!

I could barely wait to eat long enough to take a quick photo!!

Chili Verde Chili Recipe Prep Time: 20 minutes; Cook Time: 8 hours; Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 small yellow onions – chopped
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • dash chili powder, dried garlic
  • 8oz coconut milk
  • 4 small green chilies – picked from my patio garden & chopped
  • 8 oz homemade chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz can white beans
  • 4-5 oz Salsa Verde – I used Trade José’s brand
  • 2-4 tsp ground cumin – to taste
  • 1/4 t paprika
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • salt & pepper – to taste
  • 1 T arrowroot powder
  • Optional Toppings: Greek yogurt, avocado, &/or cheese (Pepper Jack or Parmesan are extra tasty!)

Note: I strive to use organic/pesticide-free, free range, & local ingredients whenever possible 🙂

Directions

  1. Chop onions & place in bottom of the crockpot.
  2. Heat olive oil (or coconut oil) & brown chicken adding chili powder, dried garlic, salt & pepper to taste. Add garlic to hot pan for 30 seconds. Add to crockpot.
  3. Add coconut milk, green chilies, chicken broth, beans, salsa & spices to crock pot.
  4. Stir, cover & turn crockpot on low for 8 hours.
  5. Remove chicken & shred with a fork.
  6. Stir arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) into the chili to thicken slightly.
  7. Add shredded chicken back in.
  8. Scoop into bowl & add toppings of your choice! Enjoy!!

First Bite… after smelling it cooking all day! Yum!

If you try this & experiment with other ingredients please comment & share!!

Homemade Hand Cleanser: a Summertime essential!

Nothing says summer like a day spent playing at the State Fair! Growing up with the Fair coming to town every summer, fond memories include eating giant slices of overpriced pizza, begging carnies to let us stay on again for a free ride, spinning round & upside down until our tummies hurt, splashing in the demo pools for relief from the triple digit heat, & screaming with joy when the concert performers walked to the side of the stage that faced our nose-bleed, bleacher seats.

Going back to the Fair of my childhood yesterday brought back the freedom only felt by a new teen – out of school for summer & only one mission: fun! We adults could benefit from recreating these simpler & more playful times! While the hypnotist show, I once loved, no longer comes to our fair, the new favorite is Mutton Busting. Has anyone seen this? Brave little people (under age 6) ride sheep, rodeo-style, with the goal of holding on for six seconds. It is a little shocking to see them fall, faces in the dirt, for the first time – but it sure does draw a crowd. I’m not here to discuss ethics of rodeo or other Fair activities – but it all makes for great people-watching!

Being at the fair also reminds me how much I dislike public bathrooms & port-a-potties! Summer activities like camping, fairs & festivals bring the inevitable long lines & shared germs. To combat environmental threats & keep hands soft, I carry homemade hand cleanser. Here is the recipe…

Hand Cleanser Recipe 

Ingredients:

  • 5 T aloe vera gel
  • 4 T water
  • 1/4 t vitamin E oil
  • 8 drops certified therapeutic grade essential oils (protective blend)
  • 5 oz squeeze container

Directions:

1. Mix 5 tablespoons aloe vera gel & 1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil.

2. Add 8-10 drops essential oil.

3. Stir in about 4 tablespoons water to achieve desired consistency.

4. Pour mixture into squeeze container using measuring cup or funnel. I chose five 1 oz containers to share with friends.

5. Squeeze small amount on hands & rub until dry.

That’s it – easy! This recipe cleanses without chemicals or drying the skin. Enjoy!

DIY DAY Part III: Body Wash

Finally got over the obstacle of DIY body wash!! I kept putting it off because it seemed hard. I was wrong – it is easy! So grateful to be lathering up in healthy oils instead of chemicals now – yahoo!! Body wash is a personal thing. Try it, tweak it, let me know what you think…

Foaming Body Wash Recipe

Invigorating Eucalyptus Lime Body Wash

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz glass jar with pump (I reused an empty 32oz vinegar jar & a lotion pump)
  • 1 c unscented castile soap
  • 6-7 T aloe vera
  • 1 t vitamin E oil
  • 6 T fractionated coconut oil (olive oil would probably work okay too)
  • 20 drops certified therapeutic grade essential oils – Peppermint, Lime & Eucalyptus

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients in bottle & shake.
  • In shower: shake to combine ingredients & use of 1-2 pumps

Benefits:

  • I chose these three oils to jump start the morning. The combination is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, stimulating, revitalizing & opens the airways to take in a new day!

Swapping (even just one!) store bought product for a DIY alternative can save money, reduce toxins in the home & help preserve our planet! Enjoy!

Check out Part I: All-Purpose Cleaner & Part II: foaming hand wash for more DIY recipes!

Contact me for info on the ingredients & essential oils I recommend 🙂

DIY Day Part II: Foaming Hand Wash

Foaming Hand Wash Recipe

Foaming Handwash Recipe

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Mix castile soap & oils in bottle
  • add water to fill (leaving room for pump) & shake
  • 1-2 pumps per hand wash

Benefits:

  • I like to use 5 drops of a protective blend of essential oils that includes Orange, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Eucalyptus & Clove. Benefits includes cleansing properties, purifies, oxygenates, stimulates nerves & promotes circulation.

Check out Part I: All-Purpose Cleaner & Part III: Body Wash for more DIY recipes!

Contact me for more information purchasing certified therapeutic grade essential oils.

DIY Day Part I: All-Purpose Cleaner

Happy Tuesday! If you were thinking it was already Wednesday (like I was until mid-morning when someone burst my bubble) – sorry! The good news is we made it through Monday & it is DIY DAY! That means I have some awesome, clean-living, do-it-yourself recipes to share!

  1. All-Purpose Cleaner
  2. Foaming Hand Wash
  3. Body Wash

The beautiful thing about all of these recipes is that they are EASY (& arguably fun) to make, have effective cleansing properties, & reduce the toxins we are exposed to at home! Instead of damaging the air we breathe & our water supply with the chemicals used in standard cleaning products – these DIY recipes use essential oils (from plants) that have been used throughout history & have lots of positive side effects (check out my post about essential oils for an overview).

All Purpose Cleaning Spray

All Purpose Cleaner

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Mix water, vinegar & oils in spray bottle & shake before each use.
  • Spray & wipe clean 🙂

Benefits:

  • All three of these essential oils are an excellent choice for cleaning bathrooms & kitchens.
  • Lemon is great for tackling grease & freshening with the added benefit of mood elevation – it’s good to smile while you clean!
  • Oregano & Melaleuca are powerhouse oils for combatting seasonal & environmental threats.

Check out Part II: foaming hand wash & Part III: body wash for more DIY recipes!

Contact me for more information on purchasing certified therapeutic grade essential oils.

Link

Happy Monday Friends! What is it about Mondays? They just take it out of me! I sure am grateful to be in my comfies now, all cozied up on the couch – that’s for sure! I may have made up a couple of words there, but sometimes I find that necessary to more accurately describe how I’m feeling! I bet you are doing the same thing right now (the comfy pants – not the word inventing).

Anywho… Kombucha! I’m currently up to my ears in home brews & new scoby “babies” as I’ve been learning & drinking my home brewed Kombucha for a few months now! I’m in love! Where to even begin? My first run in with the fizzy, fermented tea was at a health food store when a good friend (with a bad hangover) recommended it for it’s detoxifying properties! I spent four dollars, drank one teensie sip, grimaced & dumped the rest. Water has always been my drink of choice anyways – hydrating, delicious & nothing fancy!

Fast forward several years & I decided to give Kombucha a second chance. I tend to be motivated to try things known for their health benefits as I’m always looking for new ways to boost my immune system, detoxify my body & support digestive health. Plus, Kombucha turned out to be a tasty, carbonated drink (unlike the time I tried to make homemade sauerkraut not knowing how it should taste or if I even like it)! So I’m plugging along in Kombucha heaven and I begin to realize I’ve developed an expensive habit. By asking around I learn that Kombucha can be easily made by using a starter scoby often referred to as the “mother” & apparently many of the women I know have mothers & grandmothers who have been brewing this tea for decades! Lucky me!

My Kombucha teacher (also my girlfriend’s mother) gave me a personal home brew tutorial, starter scoby, & an awesome packet of information including history, recipes & anecdotes! By the way, I love discovering new health routines via word of mouth, doing my own research & trusting intuition. So Kombucha fits the bill! I’ll show you a snippet of my modified version of this method below, but for the original recipe (plus a plethora of other fun stories & info) check out The Kombucha Center website.

KOMBUCHA BENEFITS

You can read many stories of amazing benefits like detoxification, grey hair reduction, alleviated menopause & allergy symptoms, increased fat burn and even healing from illnesses. So far I have experienced increased energy, healthier digestion, and lots of fun while enjoying the brewing process, sipping my tea & sharing with friends!

KOMBUCHA INGREDIENTS

5 tea bags – I use a combo of green & black tea for my preferred flavor & to reduce the caffeine. There are simple methods available for removing the caffeine from your tea bags if that is a concern for you.

1 cup organic sugar – I’ve used light brown & white sugar successfully

3 quarts boiled water – I have been using sun tea lately but the jury is still out on my preferred method of steeping the tea

1 scoby “baby” in 1 cup Kombucha from previous batch

1 large glass jar – that holds around 4 quarts

1 coffee filter & rubber band to secure

1 wooden spoon *Never touch the tea or Kombucha with any metal

IMG_5059

Kombucha Ingredients: Tea, sugar, purified H2O, scoby & kombucha

HOW TO MAKE KOMBUCHA

Make tea using boiling method (glass tea kettle on stove, ceramic dish in oven) – but – I like sun tea & haven’t had problems so far. I steep all day in the sun & then add sugar until dissolved.

IMG_5062

Green and Black Teas brewing in the Sunshine

IMG_5060

Add 3 quarts of fresh brewed tea to brew jar, add sugar & stir until dissolved.

Cool tea to room temperature & add the scoby with 1 cup of previous batch of Kombucha.

IMG_5065

LEFT: “Mother” Scoby ready for retirement (the compost bin)                             RIGHT: New “baby” Scoby in 1 c. Kombucha ready to be added to the new batch TOP: Bottle leftover from tasty store bought Kombucha & two mason jars filled with my previous finished batch (ready to be bottled & consumed).

Cover the container with a coffee filter & rubber band for protection. Store in a cupboard that isn’t disturbed often & let ferment for 7 or more days depending on temperature and conditions. After 7 days, it is helpful to taste the brew every couple days until it reaches desired fermentation.

img_4454-e1402379979885

New batch of tea ready to be covered & stored for fermentation.

After Kombucha has fermented to your taste preference, just remove the Scoby “Mother” & “Baby” (they will probably be connected) & it is ready to be consumed! However, I like to bottle with fresh ginger & fruit at this stage to enhance flavor & promote carbonation. Add whatever fruit you prefer, seal bottle(s) with plastic or rubber lids only & let sit on counter for another day to carbonate. Then store in the fridge! Yummmmm!!!

IMG_5063

Flavored, carbonated & ready to be refrigerated!                                                         LEFT: Blueberry, Ginger & Lemon                                                                           RIGHT: Farmer’s Market Peach & Strawberry

My teacher & information suggest drinking 4 ounces every morning on an empty stomach for maximum health benefits. I aim to do this, but also enjoy my Kombucha in a pretty wine glass while sitting on the porch after a long day! Enjoy!