Homemade VapoRub for Cough and Cold

Homemade VapoRub for Cough and Cold

This post may contain affiliate links.  You can read the disclosure policy here

 

Spring is just around the corner (yay!) but there is still some funk going around.  Homemade Vaporub will save the day when you need insta relief from cough and cold.  None of the gross ingredients and all of the soothing essential oil love you can handle.

 

Conventional VapoRub contains funky and potentially harmful ingredients.

 

  • Camphor: you cannot swallow because camphor overdose can have severe effects, including death in toddlers.
  • Petrolatum: or Petroleum as the jelly used for beauty products. Originally, petroleum was discovered hanging out on the bottom of oil rigs and although refined, it potentially can contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that have been linked to several cancers, including skin, lung, bladder, liver and certain digestive system cancers.
  • Turpentine oil: toxic if swallowed. Used as a paint solvent, turpentine also is an ingredient in Vicks VapoRub.

 

Homemade VapoRub contains beneficial components that promote healthy respiratory function.

 

Be sure to use high-quality essential oils (these are the oils I use personally).  Some essential oils on the market contain harmful fragrance and fillers and contain very little of the beneficial plant ingredients.  The oils used in this recipe are safe for adult use only.  If you would like to use for small children or babies, use the child VapoRub Recipe version. As always, if pregnant or nursing, ask your practitioner before use.

 

  • The main chemical components of Eucalyptus Essential Oil are eucalyptol and alpha-terpineol which aids in clear breathing and opening airways.
  • Peppermint Essential Oil has a high menthol content that promotes healthy respiratory function.
  • Lemon Essential Oil supports a healthy respiratory function and gives an uplifting boost to the mood which helps when you are feeling blah because you are sick.
  • Coconut oil contains Lauric acid which is particularly good at killing bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
  • Beeswax contains powerful anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties that are all beneficial to the skin.

Homemade VapoRub (Adult) Recipe

 

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Coconut Oil

2 TBSP Beeswax Pellets

20 Eucalyptus Essential Oil

20 Peppermint Essential Oil

10 Lemon Essential Oil

4-6 0z Jar

 

Directions:

  1. Melt Coconut Oil and Beeswax in a double boiler (which is placing your jar in a small pot, on low heat with water that only reaches up the side of the jar – make sense?) to melt oil and wax.
  2. Once melted, take the mixture of oil and beeswax off the heat.
  3. Add the oils and stir.
  4. The Vaporub is ready to use once cooled and firm.

 

 

Homemade VapoRub Recipe for Small Children

 

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Coconut Oil

2 TBSP Beeswax Pellets

4 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil

4-6 0z Jar

 

Directions:

  1. Melt Coconut Oil and Beeswax in a double boiler (which is placing your jar in a small pot, on low heat with water that only reaches up the side of the jar – make sense?) to melt oil and wax.
  2. Once melted, take the mixture of oil and beeswax off the heat.
  3. Add the oils and stir.
  4. The Vaporub is ready to use once cooled and firm.

 

If homemade VapoRub isn’t your thing, there are a few good ones on the market.

 

Natural Premade Options Available

 

Maty’s All Natural Vapor Rub Soothing Relief (Amazon)

 

Badger Aromatic Chest Rub for Colds (Thrive Market)

 

If you would like to read more about making your own non-toxic body products,

check out the following list. xo

 

 

 

 

 

Hearty Beef and Black Bean Chili Recipe

Hearty Beef and Black Bean Chili Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links.  You can read the disclosure policy here.

 

 

 

And these guys have been out of school for daaays.

 

 

In our Southern, thin-skin defense, we simply do not have the equipment to remove the snow that may come once a year.  Coupled with the fact that it doesn’t stay cold here long so what snow we get melts, then refreezes overnight turning into ice.  And ice doesn’t play.  No one can drive on ice.

With that being said, when it snows in Nashville, everyone gets a snow day, even adults.  And it’s fantastic.

Cold, blustery days deserve warm, hearty meals.  Today I made my favorite chili, Hearty Beef and Black Bean Chili. This chili is made with organic, grass-fed beef, black beans, tomatoes, and veggies. Everyone in the house personalizes the toppings.  Some add cheese, some add sour cream, tortilla chips or jalapenos.

Personally, I add it all.

Just a heads up, if you didn’t know, I love Aldi’s and do 95% of my grocery shopping there.  I save so much money shopping at Aldi.  Before I started making my chili, I took a quick (staged) photo of the ingredients I bought at Aldi the day before.  Organic food at Aldi is very reasonably priced and only slightly higher than conventionally grown products.

 

 

Alright.  Super easy recipe. Let’s go.

 

Hearty Beef and Black Bean Chili Recipe

 

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained.

4 cups broth – chicken, beef or vegetable

 

Directions:

  1. Sautee the onion, celery, and bell pepper until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add beef and cook until crumbly.
  3. Add everything else.
  4. Cook for at least one hour but the longer, the better.
  5. Top with cheese, sour, jalapenos, cilantro….or just whatever your sweet little heart desires.

 

 

You can mix it up and have the leftovers as Chili Cheese Fries or over a baked potato.  If you double this recipe, you can freeze half for another dinner down the road.

 

How did you spend your lovely snow day?!

 

 

Check out these other tasty recipes.

 

Online Organic and Natural Food Coupons

 

Check out the following links for Organic and Natural food coupons. You will have to sign up on some sites, some you won’t.  If you don’t want to junk up your primary email account, create a new one that you use solely for coupons and newsletters.  Happy Saving!

 

Amy’s Kitchen

Annie’s Homegrown Food 

Apple & Eve

Applegate Farms

Barbara’s

Be Free For Me (Gluten Free)`

Bob’s Red Mill

Common Kindness

Earth’s Best Organics

Earthfare

Enjoy Life Food

Honest Kids

Horizon

Imagine

Kashi

KIND Healthy Snacks

Laura’s Lean Beef

Mambo Sprouts

Nutiva

Pacific Foods

Plum Organics

Rudi’s Organic Bakery

Silk

Stonyfield Organics

Traditional Medicinals

Udi’s Gluten Free

Uncle Matt’s Organic

Van’s Foods

 

If you like saving money, you really should check out the following info. 🙂

Save Money on Organic and natural foods when you shop at Aldi.

10 Ways to Eat Organic Food on a Budget

 

Window and Glass Cleaner Recipe – DIY

Window and Glass Cleaner Recipe – DIY

This post may contain affiliate links.  You can read the disclosure policy here.

Fortunately, my days of window and mirror cleaning are far and few between now that this job is added to Xan and Evie’s chore list. I am seriously working my way out of this maid-esque position I acquired 11 years ago when Xan was born.

Now that the kids are cleaning the windows on the reg, it is even more important that the window cleaner be non-toxic. After researching the ingredients in Windex, I tossed the bottle (ahem, I mean, recycled) and started making my own window and glass cleaner.  Some of the ingredients in Windex are super funky and can cause some unnecessary problems.

Just trying to clean some windows here folks.  Not trying to have an asthmatic fit or skin irritation.

The Environmental Working Group grades products based on the toxicity of their ingredients. The grades indicate the relative level of concern posed by exposure to the ingredients in this product.

The EWG rates Windex a D which means, “HIGH CONCERN – Likely hazards to health or the environment. May also have poor ingredient disclosure.”

According to SC Johnson’s website, Windex® is made of the following ingredients:

 

The most dangerous chemicals in Windex are 2-Hexoxyethanol, Ammonium Hydroxide, and fragrance. 

 

Toxic Ingredients in Windex

 

2-Hexoxyethanol: According to the National Library of Medicine, “2-Hexoxyethanol is moderately toxic. The NLM recommends taking great care to prevent eye and skin contact due to the toxicity by absorption.   Breathing in the vapors is not a good idea either.

Ammonium Hydroxide: A colorless solution of Ammonia in water with a pungent odor.  Household cleaners, photography and fertilizers, textiles, rubber and pharmaceuticals all contain Ammonium Hydroxide. Inhaling Ammonium Hydroxide can cause a cough, shortness of breath and sore throat. Blurred vision, redness and skin irritation is also known to occur if the chemical gets on skin or in your eyes.

Fragrance: Of the thousands of chemicals used in fragrances, most have not been tested for toxicity, alone or in combination. Many of these unlisted ingredients are irritants and can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms.  Seriously, fragrance is in everything! Check ingredient labels.  You’ll see what I mean.

 

Making your own window and glass cleaner is super easy and affordable. You probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen.

 

Window and Glass Cleaner Recipe

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol
  • 10 drops peppermint or lemon essential oil.  Good quality oils are important.  Some oils even contain fragrance which we are trying to stay away from.  Personally, I use doTERRA because of the quality and I know that the oils are pure.
  • Glass spray bottle.  Essential oils will break down plastic over time so glass is best! These bottles are my favorite and they are such a pretty blue color.

 

 

Directions:

  1. Pour Water, Vinegar, Rubbing Alcohol and essential oils in your spray bottle.
  2. Shake well before use.  All done!

 

Microfiber cloths like these, work really well and help cut down on waste by not using paper towels that will just get thrown away.  I keep mine in a little basket under the sink and use them for everything except floor spills.  Paper Towels do that job.

 

 

Another fun option is the cleaning cloths from Mightynest.  These guys clean everything from counters to windows to little faces.

 

 



What it boils down to is that cleaning is good.  Toxic chemicals in your cleaning products are bad.   Take control of your environment and health by simplifying the ingredients in your everyday cleaning products.  You are doing yourself, your family and the environment a favor.

 

Here are a few other DIY cleaning recipes you will enjoy. Happy Cleaning!

 

Bathroom Spray Cleaner Recipe

DIY Soft Scrub

Natural, All-Purpose Cleaner

 

 

Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies

Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies

“Good food, fast” is my motto in the kitchen.

Real food isn’t convenient or fast, or wrapped up in boxes and wax paper.  Real food is raw and whole. It needs washed, prepped and cooked. Eating real food can be a pain in the ass, no matter how amazingly good it is for you.

Washing, prepping and cooking is not even close to something I enjoy doing.  So I have made it my mission to make eating real food as easy on myself as possible and I would love to share some tips with you to help with your kitchen life balance. A real food kitchen if you will.

The following recipe is super easy to prep, cook and clean up.  Plus, most importantly, the Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies is nutritious with a healthy portion of protein, healthy fats and healthy carbs. It tastes pretty darn good too.

 

Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound baby red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 pound brussel sprouts, halved
  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried Rosemary

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook potatoes and brussel sprouts until parboiled for 10 minutes; drain well.
  3. Place potatoes and brussel sprouts in a large baggie.  Add olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary. Shake the bag to evenly coat veggies with ALL the flavor.
  4. Pour the potatoes and sprouts onto a sheet pan.  Drizzle balsamic vinegar over veggies. Place a baking rack on top of the veggies.
  5. Rub 2 tbsp of dijon mustard over the steak.  Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste to taste, and add it to the baking rack on top of the sheet pan.
  6. Place into oven and broil until the steak is browned and charred at the edges, about 7-8 minutes per side for medium. Shave a couple of minutes off for mid-rare or add 2 minutes for mid-well.

 

Pro-Tip: Cut up and parboil a few extra potatoes. You can make breakfast potatoes or add them to scrambled eggs the next morning.

 

All of this deliciousness was made using a sheet pan, baking rack, cutting board, knife and a gallon baggie.

 

I have adapted the no fuss, no muss philosophy with all my meals and it has made my clean eating life so much easier! Stay tuned for more meal time saving recipes.

 

Until then, here is a pictorial version of the recipe.

 

Quartered red potatoes, herbs and olive oil in large baggies. Shake to coat.

Veggies and lubed up with olive oil and placed on sheet pan. 

The Steak is rubbed with marinade. The longer the steak marinades the better but even 10 minute will do.

 

Yum.  All done. In only 30 minutes.  Now you have more time to do fun stuff.

 

If you enjoyed this time saving, real food recipe, check out the following deliciousness.

 

 

 

 

 

Bathroom Spray Cleaner Recipe

Bathroom Spray Cleaner Recipe

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. READ THE DISCLOSURE POLICY HERE.

Bathrooms.  We all have ’em and we all have to clean them.

Have you ever looked at the ingredient label on your bathroom cleaners?

The first time I really read the back of my bathroom cleaner, was about 10 years ago.  I was cleaning my tiny, unventilated bathroom while my one year old was napping.  I planned on giving him a bath first thing after he woke.

While cleaning the bathroom, my eyes started to sting and my throat began to burn.  I looked at the label and it said scary things like, “Warning. Keep out of the reach of children” or “Do not breathe spray” and best yet, “Eye and skin irritant. Do not get in eyes, on skin or clothing.”

That’s when it hit me.  I was scrubbing my tub with this cleaner with all of these crazy warnings, that caused my eyes and throat to burn, and then planned on sitting my baby’s little naked bottom directly on the same tub. Granted I would rinse away the cleaner but trace amounts would still be left behind. That was my aha moment that led me down the path to clean living and using non-toxic products.

Once you start learning about the potential dangers of the ingredients in conventional products, there is no going back.  The knowledge snowballs and before you know it, you start researching the chemicals in body products, then in food and on and on.

Our bodies fight off all of these dangers and filter out a lot of the harmful chemicals.  But when they are in our food, our cleaning and body products and our air, the body can’t keep up and the chemicals start to take a toll.  You can’t be 100% toxin free but proactively limiting the chemicals will help you feel and stay well.

 

Health is priceless.

 

Below is a list of the most common toxic ingredients in most commercial bathroom cleaners.

 

2-BUTOXYETHANOL: A skin and eye irritant also associated with blood disorders. This chemical is listed as a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act due to the understanding that it is harmful to human health.

Ammonia:  Vapours may irritate the skin, eyes, throat, and lungs

MEA (monoethanalomine): Known to induce asthma in workplace settings

DEA (diethanolamine): Mild skin and severe eye irritant.

Fragrance: More than 3000 chemicals are used in fragrance mixtures. Many are irritants and can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms.

Buying a bottle of $3.99 cleaner from the store is super easy and convenient.  I get it. People are busy. Easy and convenient is pretty awesome. The following bathroom cleaner recipe is still very easy and convenient after you build up your cleaning and body products inventory. Plus, you can really save some dough after your initial purchase of bulk ingredients.

The following is a bathroom spray cleaner recipe.  If you need to do some heavy cleaning, this DIY Soft Scrub will do the trick.

 

Bathroom Spray

Cleaner Recipe

 

Ingredients:

Spray Bottle – Glass is best because essential oils can break down plastic. These are my fave.  I also use these labels for my homemade cleaning (and body) products.

2 cups water

2 cups white distilled vinegar

40 drops of essential oil – You can use single oils or combine based on smell and cleaning ability.  I personally use doTerra oils for their potency and purity.  If you would like to learn more about the oils, just let me know and I will be happy to elaborate.

  • Lemon fresh, clean scent.  Antiseptic and disinfectant properties.
  • Tea Tree – antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral.
  • Lavender – delightful, summery scent. Disinfectant properties.
  • Eucalyptus – natural germicide.
  • Peppermint – antibacterial.

 

Directions:

  1. Mix water, vinegar and oils in a spray bottle.
  2. Shake gently to mix.
  3. Spray surface and wipe with a damp cloth.

 

Now you can rest assured that your bathroom cleaner will not warrant a visit from the hazmat team if it gets spilled. 😉

If you are not into making your own bathroom cleaner, check out these more natural alternatives to conventional products.

Method All Purpose Natural Surface Cleaning Spray

Green Works Multi-Surface Cleaner, Spray Bottle, Original Fresh

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner

 

Here are a couple of other natural ways to keep your home clean. 

 

 

 

 

Do you make your own cleaners?  I would love to hear about them!

 

 

Fruit and Nut Oatmeal Muffins

Fruit and Nut Oatmeal Muffins

There is nothing more I love then a good muffin. Being gluten-free for 6 years now, I have gone without good muffins for way too long.  Sure, I could find GF muffins here and there but they tend to be heavy and filled with sugar.

So you can imagine my delight when I pulled these Fruit and Nut Oatmeal Muffins out of the oven for the first time.  I was literally giddy with excitement when I tasted them.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  These are not the sugar filled, cake like muffins you can get at the bakery.
The Fruit and Nut muffins are like their healthy, hippie cousin. 🙂

This is why I love these muffins.

 

  1. Natural Ingredients – Nothing crazy in here folks.  Just real food.  MIxed all together having a grand time.
  2. Super Versatile – So many options.  Like nuts? Great, throw some in.  Berries?  Go for it.
  3. Wholesome and Hearty  – Oats, bananas and almonds will keep you full longer and help stop midday munching. Great with coffee too!
  4. Healthy – Almonds provide healthy fats, eggs provide protein and the oats will give you some healthy carbs.
  5. Great To-Go Breakfast – Grab and go.  No standing over a stove cooking eggs or cold cereal in the morning.
  6. Easy Clean Up – No fuss, no muss.  Mixed in one bowl, cooked in one pan. Done.

 

Fruit and Nut Oatmeal Muffin Recipe

 

Ingredients:

coconut oil (spray is recommended)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 large bananas, mashed

1 T raw honey

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 T ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 pure maple syrup

Toppings of your choice: berries, fruit, nuts, various seeds (chia, flax), chocolate chips (chocolate chips, what?!)

 

Directions:

Step 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat muffin tin with coconut oil.

Step 2.  Scramble eggs in a large bowl.

Step 3. Add bananas and mash with a fork.

Step 4. Add vanilla, maple syrup and honey, oats, cinnamon and baking powder, then stir well.

 

 

Step 5. Stir in almond milk and mix well.

 

 

Step 6. Divide oatmeal evenly between prepared muffin cups and add toppings of your choice.

 

Step 7. Bake 20 minutes or until brown.

Step 8. Cool slightly and eat immediately, or save for the week ahead!

 

You will be surprised at how moist (sorry guys, I had to say it) and delicious these muffins turned out! 

 

 

Fruit and Nut Oatmeal Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Dozen
 
Ingredients
  • coconut oil (spray is recommended)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1 T raw honey
  • 2½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1½ T ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ pure maple syrup
  • Toppings of your choice: berries, fruit, nuts, chocolate chips (chocolate chips, what?!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat muffin tin with coconut oil.
  2. Scramble eggs in a large bowl.
  3. Add bananas and mash with a fork.
  4. Add vanilla, maple syrup and honey, oats, cinnamon and baking powder, then stir well.
  5. Stir in almond milk and mix well.
  6. Divide oatmeal evenly between prepared muffin cups and add toppings of your choice!
  7. Bake 20 minutes or until brown.
  8. Cool slightly and eat immediately, or save for the week ahead!

 

If you enjoyed this recipe, here are a few other you may be interested in trying out! xo

 

Homemade Bug Repellent

Homemade Bug Repellent

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS.  YOU CAN READ MY DISCLOSURE POLICY HERE.

It’s that time of year.

Nature has come back to life, with full branches of leaves and stems full of color. This, by far, is my favorite season of the year. After a dreary, albeit seasonably warm winter, spring is a breath of fresh air. With the full trees and bushes come annoying bugs and mosquitos.

We live by the lake and these bugs are supersized. Seriously.  I had a spider so big come in the house the other day, I swear he opened the back door and let himself in. I gently (frantically) coaxed him back outside but I swear he was the size of a silver dollar. And all before my first cup of coffee.

Our winters in Nashville are not super cold or snowy but this last winter was so mild. Our average temp was in the 50’s and it was amazing. Since it never got cold enough to kill off the ticks and bugs, I am expecting more bugs than usual during these warm months. I swear, these mosquitos will be the size of birds.

Conventional bug sprays usually contain DEET, a chemical that disrupts the central nervous system and covers the antenna of mosquitos, confusing their sense of direction.  In humans, Deet causes a variety of skin problems like redness, irritation, blistering and burning.  Environmentally, the EPA considers DEET to be slightly toxic to birds, fish and aquatic invertebrates.

According to this Safety Data Sheet,

Deet is the most common ingredient in insect repellents and is believed to work as such in that mosquitos intensely dislike its smell. Deet is also an effective solvent and may dissolve plastics, rayon, spandex, other synthetic fabrics and painted or varnished surfaces.

 

We spend a lot of time outdoors and bug repellant is a necessity.  The bug repellant we use is a combo of essential oils and a carrier fluid like witch hazel, vodka or distilled water.  But really, who would waste good vodka on bug spray?

 

Homemade Bug Repellent Recipe

 

Ingredients:

Spray Bottle  4 oz

2 oz distilled water, Witch Hazel or Vodka.  I use Witch Hazel for my repellent. Produced from a flowering shrub, Witch Hazel is naturally anti-inflammatory and astringent.  You can find witch hazel and any drugstore or grocery.

40 drops of essential oils. Any combination of the following oils, although Lemongrass and Citronella are the most effective.

  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella
  • Eucalyptus
  • Rosemary
  • Cedarwood
  • Lavender

Directions:

  1. Add witch hazel, distilled water or vodka to spray bottle.
  2. Add 40 drops of essential oils.
  3. Shake.
  4. Done.

Additional Tips:

  • Always shake before use.
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing should check with their health practitioner before using.
  • Use good quality oils. I personally use DoTerra, but there are several legit oils on the market. Some oils contain fragrance and junk like fillers so check the labels before you buy. Rocky Mountain Oils are good quality oils for a reasonable price.
  • Essential oil’s therapeutic properties will degrade if exposed to sunlight. Store your essential oil concoctions in colored glass bottles if possible.
  • Be cautious when using oils on young children.

Natural Bug Spray alternatives.

BugMace All Natural Mosquito & Insect Repellent Bug Spray

All Terrain Kids Herbal Armor DEET-Free Natural Insect Repellent

Mosquito Repellent Spray – All Organic Insect Deterrent

If you enjoyed this article, then check out the ones below.  I bet you will like those too! 🙂

10 Homemade Spice Blends

10 Homemade Spice Blends

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS.  YOU CAN READ MY DISCLOSURE POLICY HERE.

Have you ever checked out the back of your seasoning blends and read the ingredients? Before I did, I just thought they contained different kinds of spices.  Simple.  Boy, was I wrong. You should check out your spice blends and see what’s really going on in those bottles.

A majority of seasoning blends contain MSG (monosodium glutamate), used to enhance the flavor of foods. MSG may lead to inflammation, migraines and cell damage among other potential side effects. Seasoning blends can also contain sugar and various chemical additives like partially hydrogenated oils.

All of that is really unnecessary.

When you make your own seasoning blends, you control the quality of the ingredients. They are super easy to make and you will save you some moolah. You may have already made my all time fave Taco Seasoning but here are 10 more Seasoning Blends to add to your collection.

You can mix the ingredients of the spice blends in a pint size major jar.  Just pour in the appropriate amounts of spice, throw on the lid, and shake! No fuss. I heart these cute little 4oz spice jars made by Ball.  They even come with cute little labels.

 

 

Homemade Spice Blends Recipes

 

Whole Chicken Rub

** Use the entire portion on the whole chicken.

Curry Seasoning

Onion Soup Mix

  • 1/2 cup dried, chopped onions
  • 2 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 5 tbsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. real salt or sea salt
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder

** This equals one package of storebought onion soup mix.

Hamburger Seasoning

** 2 tsp per lb of meat

 

Ranch Dressing

**1 tablespoon equals one envelope of ranch dressing mix.

 

Italian Seasoning

 

Creole Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon white pepper

 

Everything Bagel Seasoning Blend

  • 1 tablespoon dried minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

 

Thai Seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons ginger powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

 

Seasoning Salt

  • 1/3 C Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper

 

Do you have any spice blends that you can’t live without?  I would love to hear about them. 🙂

 

These are a couple of my favorite DIY and money saving posts. xo

 

 

10 Ways to Eat Organic Food on a Budget

10 Ways to Eat Organic Food on a Budget

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. You can read my disclosure policy here.

Our monthly food budget for our family of four is easily the second highest bill we pay but our food is real, mainly organic, and good for our bodies. Consuming fresh, non-processed food is important to keep our bodies healthy, especially for those little growing people.

Some days I go crazy and feel like I live in the kitchen prepping and cooking real food. But most days, I am happy that I can provide and prepare healthy, non-toxic food for the fam.

Food IS medicine.

What is the difference between organic and conventional foods?

Organic foods

The term “organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed.  In the U.S., organic crops must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, sewage sludge-based fertilizers, petroleum-based fertilizers, and bioengineered genes (GMOs).

Animals grown on organic farms are fed organic feed, able to go outdoors, and are not given synthetic hormones or antibiotics. Disease is prevented and controlled with natural methods such as healthy diet, rotational grazing, and clean housing.

Conventionally grown foods

On the flip side, conventionally grown foods are sprayed with herbicides (weed control), pesticides (pest control) and given synthetic fertilizers to promote growth. Pesticides have been linked to breast, prostrate and other cancers, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, leukemia, infertility, convulsions, and endocrine disorders.

Livestock are given growth hormones continuously so they will grow larger, faster and can get to market more quickly. In order to prevent disease, the animals are given antibiotics and medications. Most of these animals do not have access to the outdoors and that is super sad. You can check out the Humane Society’s website here to learn how conventional egg laying chickens are treated. Warning: It will bum you out.

According to Prevention Magazine,

The National Academy of Sciences reports that 90% of the chemicals applied to foods have not been tested for long-term health effects before being deemed “safe.” Further, the FDA tests only 1% of foods for pesticide residue. The most dangerous and toxic pesticides require special testing methods, which are rarely if ever employed by the FDA.

Organic, non-GMO food often costs 30-50% more than the conventional equivalent making it nearly impossible for most families to afford. When starting my clean living journey, I didn’t know the tips and tricks to buy organic food on the cheap. The following tips will surely help you move to a more organic, clean menu for you and your family.

 

10 Ways to Save Money on Natural and Organic Food

 

1. Buy Local

When you buy local, you save money when you buy direct from the seller. That equals big savings for your wallet.

  • Farmer’s Markets – You save money on natural and organic food at Farmer’s Markets because you completely skip the middle man. Farmer’s Markets also have a larger assortment of produce and also offer meats, eggs and breads.  Supporting local farmers is super important because they often get pushed out by big corporate production farms. Find a farmer’s market near you through LocalHarvest.org.
  • CSA – CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Members sign up for a CSA by paying a predetermined amount before planting begins, and in return receive a weekly ‘share’ of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses or farm-fresh products.  You can pick your share based on family and portion size.  Just like shopping at Farmer’s markets, the food is super fresh and full of vitamins and minerals.  To find a CSA near you, check out the Local Harvest Website.

2. Online Retailers

Several online retailers offer organic food for excellent prices.

  • Thrive Market – Thrive Market is an online shopping club that helps you save on everything from Paleo-friendly and gluten-free foods to eco-friendly home goods. You can shop the best-selling 4000 health and wellness products from the top 400 natural brands on the market in everyday sizes, always at 25-50% below traditional retail prices.  Right now, you can save 25% off your first order, plus a 30-day trial and free shipping when you sign up using this link
  • Amazon – Yes, even Amazon sells organic food at a discounted price and with a Prime membership, they are shipped to you in 2 days! That’s pretty awesome.  How are you going to spend all that time you save by not going to the grocery store?
  • Zaycon – I am so glad my good friend introduced me to Zaycon. Zaycon provides quality food at unbeatable value, direct from the farm to your family table. The food is sold by the case and completely skips the frozen truck ride across the country to your local grocery before you buy it.  You schedule the pick up in advance in an area that is convenient for you.  We are expecting a chicken pick up in June and I am beyond excited to get fresh, natural chicken breast for $1.89 a pound! What? Crazy.

3. Smartphone apps

You can really save money on natural and organic food by using your smart phone apps!

  • Ibotta. After you download the Ibotta app, you can “unlock” rebates by answering a 1 question survey or watching a 5 second video. Rebates range from $0.25 to $3.00 per item. The rebates are on foods you already buy like meat, vegetables and pantry staples. After accruing $25 in rebates (this takes me around 2 months), you cash out by having the money transferred to Paypal or a gift card. Super easy and a great way to save money.  For being so awesome, you can start off with $10.00 in your account by signing up for Ibotta through my affiliate link.
  • Ebates is another great app that can really save you money. Ebates pays members cash back every time they shop online as well as provide them with the best coupons and deals available online.  You can seriously earn up to 40% cash back at over 1,800 online retailers and places you already shop. Vitacost, Sams and Jet are three food retailers where you can shop and save money on organic and natural foods. Ebates will automatically put $10 in your ebates account when you sign up here. Who doesn’t like free money?

4. Grocery Stores Deals and Coupons

If you keep up with your local grocery store’s deals and weekly flyers, you can find organic and natural food at great prices.

  • Publix. If you have a Publix in your area, you can really score on their Buy One, Get One (BOGO) free sales. For example, the kids drink organic juice boxes with their school lunches.  When Publix has their BOGO on Apple and Eve juice boxes, I can buy an 8 pack of organic, natural juice boxes for $1.50. That’s a great deal! I stock up and buy 10 packs that will last until Publix runs the deal again. Publix ads run from Wednesday to Wednesday, so you can peruse the sale flyer to see what’s up for BOGO that week and stock up.
  • Loyalty Cards. Most grocery chains offer loyalty cards that will offer you deals on the items that are part of the weekly sale.  Even if the organics are not offered on that particular sale, then the money you save on conventional items can be used to purchase higher priced organics.
  • Shop store brands. Grocery chains now have in-house organic product lines using private label brands. These private labels offer prices up to 30% less than name brand. As long as the USDA organic seal is on the product, you are getting the same quality product….just much cheaper.  Couple the purchases with the store’s loyalty cards and ecoupons, you will get away with a steal. Here are a few of the most common retailer organic lines.
  1. Safeway/Albertsons – O Organics
  2. Target – Simply Balanced
  3. Kroger/Giant Eagle – Simple Truth
  4. Whole Foods – 365 Everyday Value
  5. Walmart – Wild Oats Marketplace
  6. H-E-B – HEB Organics
  7. Harris Teeter – Harris Teeter Organics
  • Stock up on sales When a product you use goes on sale, stock up! You can freeze breads, meats and fruit. Just like Publix BOGOs, most stores have sales on 10 week cycles, if you find an item that you love and use often, buy enough for 10 weeks.  Rinse and repeat.

5. Aldi

I heart Aldi. Like a lot. So it gets its own bullet point. Overall, shopping at Aldi will save you up to 50% on your grocery bill.  I go into detail about it here but long story short, Aldi’s organic line, Simply Nature is top-notch for seriously half the price of regular grocery stores.  I really hope you have an Aldi in your area!  If not, no worries, Aldi continues to expand and should be coming to a town near you soon.

6.Grow your own

Growing your own food will definitely save you money.  You don’t need a ton of room and if you don’t have a yard, grow some tomatoes in a pot on a balcony. Fresh herbs can be grown in your kitchen window. Your largest investment will be the organic, non-gmo seeds and that will only cost you a few dollars a pack. SeedsNow.com is my go to source for high quality seeds.  My goal is to grow ginger this growing season.  I like to juice it for ginger shots to help boost my immune system. Oh baby, it burns so good.

7. Organic Coupons

There are several online coupon sites for organic products.

  • Grocery Store ecoupons. Download your fave grocery store’s app and download their ecoupons.  Use your loyalty card at check out and the coupons will apply automatically!

8. Buy in Bulk

Bulk foods require less packaging and are easier to ship making it great for the environment and cheaper for you. According to Bulk is Green Council, bulk pantry staples like flour, rice, beans and lentils cost 80% less than the packaged versions.  Some stores will even give you a discount if you bring your own bags for the bulk bins.

Big box stores like Costco and Sams have slowly started selling organics. If you don’t go right home and freeze or prepare your bulk purchase, split it with a friend so none goes to waste.

9. Prioritize Purchases

If you grocery budget doesn’t allow for all organic, prioritize your purchases to at least include the Dirty Dozen and animal products.

  • The Dirty Dozen is a list of produce that contains the most residual pesticides. Pesticides cause some nasty diseases, so buying those particular foods organic is a good idea. For those non-organic purchases, you can wash most pesticides off with this DIY veggie and produce wash.
  • Animal products like meat, milk and eggs are important to buy organic because of the treatment of the animals before they are slaughtered and while they are producing. Just like what a mother eats directly changes her breast milk, the antibiotics and hormones given to livestock directly changes the food we eat.

10. Get Organized in the Kitchen

  • Make a food budget If you don’t have a budget mapped out, then you don’t know how much you spend or how much you could potentially save.
  • Meal Plan Take some time on the weekend to plan out your week’s meals.  Check your grocery store’s sale flyer and see what meals you can create with the weekly sales.
  • Cook Double and Freeze Half Nothing makes me feel more like a pioneer then when I have go-to meals in the freezer. When you find good deals at the store, buy extra, cook a double batch and freeze half. Just pull out the frozen meal the night before and just reheat at dinner time.

When moving to Organic, take it slow, make a few small changes. Skipping the chemicals, GMOs, antibiotics and hormones will help you and your family live a healthy and happy life.

Every time you buy organic, you encourage more farmers to grow organic. And that is a step to a more sustainable future for our kids and our planet.

Do you have tips for saving money on Organics?  I would love to hear them!

These are some of my fave posts about Organics.