DIY Lavender-Infused Vinegar Household Cleaning Spray

I have been cleaning my house with vinegar and baking soda for years. Part of my household cleaning arsenal is a vinegar-infused cleaner. You get the excellent cleaning and deodorizing power of vinegar as well as the fragrant and antibacterial/anti-viral cleaning powers of lavender. Together they create a fantastic household cleaner that can be sprayed directly on counter tops, toilets, light switches, walls, floors, sinks and any other flat surface you want clean and shiny. [Read more...]

Lavender-infused vinegar spray is non-toxic, effective and economical. The vinegar scent disappears as the surface dries, leaving behind only a mild lavender scent.

Directions:

  • Crush about 2 cups of fresh lavender buds and leaves in your hand. Put them in a 1 L (quart) jar and pour distilled white vinegar on top. Make sure the lavender is covered. Cap tightly. (You can use dried lavender too.  Use only about 1 cup.)
  • Set aside in a cool, dark location for 2 weeks.
  • Strain lavender-vinegar through a colander to remove bits of lavender.
  • Store vinegar in a mason jar, capped tightly.
  • To use: Fill a spray bottle half full with infused vinegar. Then fill to the top with water.
  • Use as you would any spray cleaner: Spray on and wipe clean.

Enjoy!

Purchase dried lavender buds here.

 

This post has been shared on Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways 87From The Farm and Homesteader’s Blog Hop.

Best Homemade Mayonnaise Recipe Ever!

Mayonnaise is a staple in a North American refrigerator. It finishes a sandwich, adds to a salad, and provides a tasty dip for vegetables. It can be transformed into a dressing, whipped into devilled eggs, and slathered on salmon. And it can also contain preservatives, additives, high fructose corn syrup, transfats, and GMOs. It is also often sold in plastic jars which may or may not be leaching toxins into the product. Yum. Thankfully, it isn’t difficult to make.

With basic ingredients such as egg yolks, oil, salt, mustard and a bit of sugar, you can easily make up a batch that will last for several weeks in your fridge. The hardest part of making mayonnaise is getting it to emulsify. Normally, oil and water don’t combine, but we can force a combination with the use of egg yolks and this makes a creamy sauce. The first few times I tried to make it I made an oily, separated mess. That’s because each recipe I read about told me to use a blender. I have discovered the secret of easily making it emulsify and now I am going to share it with you.

The key to any emulsification is (lack of) speed. TAKE YOUR TIME! When you are adding the oil to your mixture, do it REALLLLLLLLLY slowly. A very slow, steady stream is key. Now here we go!

Homemade Mayonnaise Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 free range egg yolks
  • 1/4 c. white wine vinegar (you can use apple cider vinegar or distilled vinegar but the taste will change subtly)
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard (or my homemade mustard)
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. sugar (Optional. I use organic cane sugar. With sugar it tastes more like Miracle Whip )
  • 1.5 c. neutral-flavored oil (I use grapeseed)

Directions:

  1. Combine eggs, vinegar, mustard, salt and sugar in a wide mouth mason jar.
  2. Using an emersion blender, combine ingredients well.
  3. SLOWLY and steadily pour oil into the jar while blending continuously. Move blender up and down a bit, and around the jar constantly, while pouring the oil in. An extra set of hands to hold the jar is helpful but not vital. Pour the oil so slowly that it will take several minutes to complete. Once about 3/4 of the oil has slowly been added you will start to feel the mixture emulsifying, or thickening.
  4. Continue to mix until oil is completely emulsified.
  5. Store in refrigerator for up to several weeks.

Note:

This product contains raw eggs so make sure your eggs are from a good source, and keep product refrigerated.

This post has been linked to From The Farm Blog Hop #40, Waste Not, Want Not Wednesdays #35Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #80, and Fat Tuesday July 9th.

Chamomile-Infused Fresh Hand and Body Lotion Recipe

I recently introduced you to fresh lotion, an age-old product that dates back thousands of years, long before chemical preservatives were introduced.  The only difference between commercial lotions and fresh lotions is that fresh lotions contain absolutely no chemical preservatives, and thus the shelf life is limited to a few months rather than a few years.  Fresh lotion is superior to commercial lotion just as fresh food is superior to preserved food.  I have chosen to share my recipes with you to encourage everyone to make small batches of fresh lotions and use them up, rather than adding preservatives which may be harmful to our bodies. To read more about the benefits of fresh lotions, click here.

This fresh hand lotion recipe is built from my basic lotion recipe, but also contains aloe vera gel, witch hazel and chamomile-infused oil.  It is the perfect consistency for a pump bottle, which will also help keep bacteria from entering the product.

Aloe Vera is a cactus plant that belongs to the Liliaceae family.  The gel is extracted from the thick leaves simply by cutting open and scooping out, or can be used to treat burns topically simply by placing a cutting of the plant directly on the burn.  Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and is beneficial to skin regeneration.  It’s non-greasy, moisturizing qualities make it a great ingredient in fresh lotions.  Learn how to extract it from your own plants for use here.

Witch Hazel is an extract from the leaves and bark of the North American shrub  Hamamelis virginiana.  It has impressive anti-inflammatory qualities and is known to be beneficial in the treatment of, among other skin conditions, diaper rash, razor burn and bug bites.  Witch hazel is also anti-microbial and is used to heal bruises and cuts. It demonstrates some anti-bacterial and anti-viral qualities.

Chamomile flowers come from the Anthemis Eecutita plant.  They are easily harvested from your own flower garden by removing the flowering tops and dehydrating them.  They can be used fresh as well.  Chamomile has powerful anti-inflammatory properties from its natural chemical component, azulene.  It is used for healing and soothing rough or damaged skin.  Chamomile flowers can be used to make a calming herbal tea, or an be infused with oil to be used in cosmetics, providing a beneficial, soothing oil.  To learn how to infuse oils yourself click here.

Materials

  • Immersion blender
  • Kitchen scale
  • Wide mouth mason jar
  • Spoon
  • Small, thick-bottomed pot
  • Small pyrex liquid measuring cup

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a thick-bottomed pot melt beeswax with oil just until it is melted.  Once melted, add rosemary oil or vitamin E, and essential oil.  Pour into a wide mouth mason jar, set aside and allow to cool until room temperature.
  2. The following ingredients must be at room temperature before beginning.  In a measuring cup weigh and add hydrosol or water, witch hazel and aloe vera. Set aside.
  3. When wax/oil mixture has cooled down to room temperature (touch the outside of the jar.  If it is hot, it isn’t ready yet) but is still soft, begin blending with a stick blender.  SLOWLY pour your water mixture into the jar in a slow, continuous stream, while blending constantly, circling around the mixture to make sure it is all blended in. You can move the emersion blender up and down and around to help the process.  Don’t pause until all the water has been added.  Continue to blend for a few minutes to ensure your mixture has emulsified.
  4. Store in a lidded container for up to 2 months.  Refrigeration will help prolong shelf life.

Notes:

  • It is very important to combine your ingredients when they have reached room temperature or your emulsion will fail and your water will separate.  If this happens, drain off the water and use the lotion as a body butter.  It will be greasier but will still make a nice product.
  • Always ensure your hands are clean when you use the lotion to prevent bacteria from entering your lotion.
  • It is helpful to sterilize your utensils first with boiling water to help prevent bacteria from entering the lotion.
  • You can interchange or combine other liquid oils.  Grapeseed oil is known to be one of the least greasy of the oils.
  • If you want to add a solid oil (for example coconut oil or cocoa butter) to your recipe make sure most of the recipe is still a liquid oil so the product doesn’t get too solid at room temperature before you have combined the water and the oil.
  • You can use any hydrosol or floral water to replace the distilled water. Check the ingredients first to make sure they are pure. Some people have luck using flower “teas” such as chamomile, green tea or calendula but note that this might increase the spoiling rate.
  • When choosing essential oils keep in mind that citrus-based oils can be photo-toxic. Used in moisturizers on skin that is exposed to the sun can cause severe sunburns.
  • I have linked ingredients to Mountain Rose Herbs, a company that provides high quality, organic ingredients from sustainable sources. Mountain Rose Herbs is my first choice in companies that provide quality ingredients.  Alternatively, most ingredients can be purchased in natural food stores.
  • Here is a link to make your own infused oils.

This post has been linked to Waste Not Want Not Wednesday #25, Wildcrafting Wednesday #83Simple Living Wednesday, Small Footprint Friday #24, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways # 68 , Small Footprint Friday and Homestead Abundance.

 

You might also be interested in reading:
Back To The Basics: An Introduction To Fresh Lotion and a Recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Chocolate-Dipped Ice Cream Pops.

You know those ice cream bars covered in rich, dark chocolate that you have to bite deeply into in order to get through the thick layer of chocolate before you hit the smooth, creamy, vanilla ice cream in the middle?  Yeah.  I’ve got you on rich, dark chocolate.  Right?

Do you know what’s in those bars?  Probably more than you’d like to think about.  Want to make them at home with your own, all natural, homemade ingredients?  It’s easier than you think!

If you haven’t bought an ice cream maker yet, buy one now.  You can save a lot of money making your own ice cream, and even better, you can use ingredients that you KNOW are fantastic.  No preservatives.  No thickeners.  No artificial flavour or color.  Nothing to make it stop from melting.  Just cream, vanilla, milk and sugar.

If you don’t have stainless steel popsicle molds buy them here.  Unlike plastic, stainless steel does NOT leech toxic chemicals into your lovingly homemade popsicles.

Ingredients:

  • Homemade ice cream ingredients (see your recipe book that comes with your ice cream maker)
  • Organic, all natural dark chocolate chips or bars.
  • Unrefined, fair trade coconut oil.

Directions:

  1. Follow the directions for homemade vanilla (or other) ice cream from your recipe book that comes with your ice cream maker.
  2. Once the ice cream is mixed, spoon it into popsicle molds.  Poke the popsicle sticks in and freeze for 2 hours.
  3. In the mean time, make your chocolate dip.  Over low heat, melt 1 part coconut oil to 3 parts dark, organic chocolate (or your cholice of chocolate).  Allow the chocolate/coconut oil to cool to close to room temperature before dipping so you don’t melt the ice cream.
  4. Remove ice cream pops from freezer.  Run popsicle mold under hot water for 1 second.  Carefully remove ice cream pop from popsicle mold.
  5. Quickly dip popsicle in a mason jar filled with (not hot!) melted chocolate/coconut oil.  Mason jar must be tall enough to allow the popsicle to be well-dipped.
  6. Hold right side up for a minute until chocolate starts to solidify.  Lay down carefully in a glass pyrex container.  Place container in freezer.  Repeat with other ice cream pops.
  7. Freeze for a few minutes and serve whenever you want to eat them!

And oooooh they’re good!

Notes

  • Store left over chocolate/coconut oil in mason jar in fridge for a week or more.
  • Try experimenting with different flavours of ice cream, or even non-dairy ice cream!
  • Double dip for thicker chocolate.  Do it AFTER you have refrozen the first dip!

____________________________________

This post has been shared on The MorrisTribe’s Homestead Blog Carnival #14 and The Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday.