Homemade Gluten-Free Yellow Mustard Recipe

Most people like mustard.  We love it in sandwiches, or mixed with honey to make a dip.  I have even added a shot of it to macaroni and cheese casseroles.  I love it but I refuse to buy it anymore for several reasons.  The first reason (which is why I finally got around to making it) is that it is generally sold in plastic bottles.  Even the organic mustard I have purchased is in plastic bottles.  As most of you know I avoid food stored in plastic or cans (lined with plastic) since the plastic has been proven to leach toxic chemicals into the food.  The second reason I won’t buy it anymore is because it is ridiculously easy to make.  It takes 15 minutes (and a few days to mellow), and uses simple, all natural ingredients.  This recipe has great flavour and tastes much like French’s mustard, an old favorite.  It is so simple I challenge you to get out of your chair and make it right now.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons dry ground mustard
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. arrowroot powder (optional, or replace with white flour, used as a thickener)
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • Pinch of paprika

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan.  Whisk to combine.
  2. Heat until boiling.  Simmer on low for 10 minutes or until sauce has reduced to the thickness you would like it.  Stir frequently.
  3. Store in jar in fridge for up to a month.  For a more mellow mustard, allow to sit for a few days to become less hot.

Notes:

  • Mustard is hot when first made.  Let is sit for a few days and it will lose much of its heat.
  • Makes about 1 cup.

Recipe was adapted from Serious Eats: Sauced: Yellow Mustard.

This recipe has been shared on Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday blog hop.

DIY Herbal Honey Cough Drops

The flu season is upon us, and coughs are a-plenty.  People seek relief from cold and flu symptoms in various ways, including pharmaceuticals, and medicated candy such as Halls.  Halls, owned by Cadbury, is a leading supplier of cough candies.  Aside from the fact that they suppress coughs, they contain an unacceptable amount of chemicals.

Active  Ingredient: Menthol 9.4 mg Inactive  ingredients: acesulfame potassium, aspartame, beta carotene, FD&C blue no.  1, flavors, isomalt, sodium carboxymethylcellulose, soy lecithin, water (www.gethalls.com)

In one example, Halls peppermint variety, the only active ingredient is menthol.  The inactive ingredients are used for flavour, color and texture.  How many of them do you recognize?  How many of them do you recognize as ingredients you try to avoid in general?  None of the inactive ingredients are going to boost your immune system at a time when you need it the most.

Herbal honey cough drops are easy to make, use all natural ingredients, soothe your throat and cough, and give a natural boost to your body when it is fighting a virus.

Peppermint Oil:
Peppermint oil contains a large amount of naturally occurring menthol.  Menthol is used, among many other things, as an antipruritic to reduce itching, as a topical analgesic to relieve minor aches and pains, in decongestants for chest and sinuses, and to produce a cooling sensation.  These work together to soothe an itchy, sore throat and calm a cough.  Caution: menthol, in very large doses, can be lethal.  Peppermint oil can contain up to 55% menthol so it is important, as with any essential oil, to use only very small amounts of it.

When choosing a peppermint oil, make sure you choose a therapeutic grade oil from a company you trust.  Most essential oils are not therapeutic grade, are meant for aromatherapy and may contain ingredients you don’t want to consume.  Read the notes at the bottom to find a high-quality, therapeutic grade essential oil.

Honey:
Unpasteurized honey has antibacterial and antiviral properties, although some of these properties may be lost with the high heat needed to candy the honey.  Honey has been used over the years to soothe coughs, heal wounds and prevent bacterial infections.

Ginger:

Ginger is a natural immune booster and is used to help with congestion. It also contains antiviral properties and is a great natural cold and flu fighter.

Optional:

Cold and Flu teas: check the label of your tea to discover the benefits the herbs provide.

Materials:

  • Thick-bottomed pot
  • Silicone candy molds, parchment paper and/or greased cookie sheet
  • Candy or deep fry thermometer (must reach 300F)
  • Metal whisk

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. raw honey
  • 3 inches peeled, organic ginger root
  • 15 drops therapeutic grade peppermint essential oil (essential oil droppers are not standardized. Use common sense.)  Make sure your essential oil is therapeutic grade (food grade).  Not all essential oils are created equally.
  • Optional: herbal Cold and Flu-type teas: Echinacea and Roots Tea by Mountain Rose Herbs or Traditional Medicinals teas
  • powdered sugar for dipping in afterwards

Directions:

  1. Boil ginger root and tea in a pot with 2 cups of water.  Reduce “tea” to about 1/4 cup by simmering, on low.  Strain liquid.
  2. Heat honey and tea mixture in a thick-bottomed pot over medium heat.  It will try and boil over, so adjust temperature to keep if from boiling over.    Keep a thermometer in the pot to observe the temperature.  Stir constantly.
  3. Once the temperature passes 225F your water has entirely boiled out, and the honey mixture will rise in temperature rapidly.  Stir continuously to prevent scorching.  Continue to stir until temperature rises over 300F.  This is the temperature needed to “candy” the honey, and make it hard. Remove from heat.
  4. Wait a few minutes for the candy to start to cool (but not start to harden).  Add therapeutic grade peppermint oil.  It may smoke a little as the impurities burn off.  Stir rapidly.
  5. Pour immediately into candy molds or onto parchment paper that has been coated with powdered sugar or onto a greased cookie sheet.  Allow to cool completely.
  6. Once cooled, dust each candy with powdered sugar.  Wrap with parchment paper and store in a sealed container for up to a month. If you aren’t going to use them immediately, store in a sealed container in the freezer.

Tips:

  1. Whole New Mom demonstrates how to make powdered sugar from organic sugar to avoid GMO icing sugar.
  2. Most essential oils are NOT therapeutic grade and are meant to be used for fragrance instead of consumption.  Make sure the essential oil you are using is therapeutic grade.  Mountain Rose Herbs essential oils are high quality, organic and therapeutic-grade.
  3. Peppermint essential oil contains approximately 50% menthol.  Menthol, though naturally occurring, is toxic in large quantities.  Use common sense!!
  4. When adding the essential oil, don’t breathe in the steam.  It is a very strong menthol at first and may irritate your sinuses.
  5. Honey naturally absorbs moisture from the air.  Keep candies in an air-tight container to prevent them from “melting” and sticking together.
  6. Caution: Do not use when pregnant or on children under 2.  (based on warnings for peppermint and raw honey.)

This post has been shared on Homestead Barn Hop #95, Homestead Abundance Link-up #6Waste Not, Want Not Wednesday, Simple Living Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday #72, Thank Your Body Thursday, Get Real Frugal Friday #3 and Fat Tuesday, January 22nd.

 

 

Lip Balm Recipes: Honey Vanilla, Chocolate Chip Mint and Sweet Almond.

Lip Balm CollageMost commercial lip balms contain petroleum products, artificial colors and flavours, and are loaded with preservatives.  Applying these to your lips is as good as eating these ingredients.  Thankfully, lip balm is simple and cheap to make.  You can make it with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, or at the very least, that you can find fairly easily in natural foods stores.  With pure, all natural ingredients these lip balms are effective and safe, and they make fantastic little gifts!

Choosing your oils

You can use any cooking oil you like.  Some have better qualities than others.  Choose one with little or no fragrance unless you love the fragrance.  Good ones include olive oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, sweet almond oil etc.  You can use any of these oils instead of the ones in the recipe.  They will all work well.  You can also use herb-infused oils such as chamomile or calendula to create a very soothing, calming product.

Choosing your butters

Butters are oils that are solid at room temperature.  (Except coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature but classified as an oil, not a butter).  Butters are loaded with enriching qualities.  Cocoa butter, shea butter and mango butter are great choices for lip balms and other body products.  Cocoa butter is probably the easiest to find.  You can substitute any of the butters with each other.

Beeswax

Beeswax is necessary to solidify the product.  If you are vegan you can try substituting carnauba wax for beeswax, but you will need some kind of wax in the balm.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is moisturizing and has antioxidant qualities.  It is also added as a natural preservative.  It helps prevent rancidity, and extends the shelf life of the product.  No natural preservatives are as effective as synthetic ones, so use up your products in a matter of months, not years.  Store any products you aren’t currently using in a freezer in a sealed container.  If you don’t want to use vitamin E you can substitute it for rosemary essential oil, which also has natural preservation properties.

Essential Oils

Essential oils can be substituted for others, or left out entirely.  They do have a bit of a natural preservative effect, but if you don’t want fragrance they can be left out.  Do not use citrus essential oils.  Most citrus (and a few others… worth checking out the link) are photo-toxic and should not be worn when you are exposed to the sun.  Peppermint essential oil contains menthol, a natural analgestic which soothes sore, chapped skin.

Extras, such as honey or chocolate chips.

Again, these can be left out entirely.  Honey is great in body products because it attracts moisture.  It is also naturally antibacterial and… it tastes good…  The chocolate chips are added for color and flavour.  I choose organic, all natural ones to maintain the purity of the product.  Do not add ingredients that are water based such as aloe, or rosewater etc.  Introducing water to your product will allow a bacteria-growing medium into your product which you don’t want, and is completely unnecessary for lip balms.


Choose your recipe below, and follow these directions. 

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except essential oil in a small sauce pan or double boiler and melt, on low heat.   Stir just until melted.  Do not allow the ingredients to boil!
  2. Stir in essential oil.
  3. Pour immediately into lip balm container.
  4. Allow to cool before moving.  Cap and use!  Or gift!

Here are three “tasty” recipes to choose from.

Chocolate Chip Mint

Honey Vanilla

Sweet Almond

Mountain Rose Herbs has exceptional quality, certified organic herbs, spices, essential oils and more.  They maintain a strict emphasis on sustainable agriculture.  I highly recommend them for outstanding quality and service.

Notes:

  • Each recipe fills 2-3 tubes or tubs.
  • You can purchase the lip balm containers at Mountain Rose Herbs.  Search “lip balm containers”.
  • Use up in a few months to avoid the oil from going rancid.

This post has been linked to Homestead Abundance #1Waste Not Want Not #9 and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #57.

Whipped Body Butter Recipe: 2 Simple Ingredients

“Decadent, smooth and rich.”

This Christmas I am, once again, attempting to make (almost) all of my Christmas gifts.  A great gift to give is something that can be used up.  Natural body products are not cheap to buy, but they can be fun and economical to make.

Body butters are oil-based and contain no water-based ingredients.  They are a mixture of oils and butters.  They are very hydrating, but they tend to be greasy.  I have been searching for a way to make oil-based butters smooth and light.  I have finally come across a simple way of dealing with butters: you whip them.  Like whipping cream.  This makes them soft, light, and less oily since there is air whipped into the product.  You can add any essential oil you like, and the overall appearance, texture and hydration is decadent.  The final product feels and looks like whipped cream.  I was very tempted to eat mine…
One thing to keep in mind with whipped butters, however, is that they are really only an oil and they will “melt” back into their oil state IF the temperature at which they melt is reached.  For example, a coconut oil-based whipped butter will melt at 24C (depending on what temperature your oil melts at.  Different coconut oils have different melting points).  Other butters may have a slightly higher melting point.  If your house gets higher than that melting point, or you keep it in a steamy bathroom, or on top of the dishwasher (which I did) it will melt back into an oil and you will have to re-whip it.  You can keep it in the fridge if you are worried about the temperature.

Does it stay like whipped cream for a long time!  YES!  It does.  How long?  I don’t know, but it hasn’t melted on me yet, and so I’d say weeks at least, if not permanently.With a mild and delicious cocoa fragrance, it isn’t necessary to add extra fragrance, but you certainly can if you like. Do not use citrus essential oils in body products since they are photo-toxic when exposed to sunshine. I am not a huge fan of the smell of coconut oil and so I choose the coconut oil that is fragrance-free.

Is this product non-greasy?  No.  It doesn’t contain alcohol or any other ingredients that “dry it out”.  But it is much less greasy than heavy, unwhipped body butter, and it will depend on the butters and oils you use (some are less greasy than others).

Over the next few weeks I will be playing with different ingredients, including kokum and mango butter, two butters which are less oily than cocoa butter and coconut oil.  I have shea butter which is extremely hydrating, and I will also be experimenting with infusing herbal extracts such as calendula, chamomile, green tea and lavender, into some of these oils to make whipped butter recipes that provide soothing, calming and anti-aging properties.  Subscribe to be updated regularly or “like” us on facebook so you know when these new recipes are available.

Ingredients:
6 oz. Coconut Oil (fractionated coconut oil is less greasy but any kind will work)
2 oz. Cocoa Butter
Essential oil if desired.

Materials:

  • Electric mixer and stainless steel bowl
  • Scale
  • Small pot
  • Pyrex measuring cup
  • Whisk or fork
  • Spoon
  • Spatula
  • Storage jar and lid

Directions:

  • In a small pot or double boiler, over low heat, melt 2 oz. of cocoa butter.
  • Add and melt 6 oz. of coconut oil.

  • Once oils are melted but NOT boiling, immediately remove from heat, pour into mixing bowl and refrigerate.
  • Once your mixture looks slightly opaque, remove from fridge and whip.  I use a stand mixer which makes the process go a lot faster.  It will get creamy quickly, but won’t whip immediately.
  • Once it is creamy put it back in the fridge for another 5 minutes or so and whip again. 
  • Once it starts to whip like whipping cream, you know you have it.  If it doesn’t, put it back in the fridge for a few more minutes and try again.  It could take up to 10 minutes of solid whipping to turn it into whipped butter.  It will get quite “stiff” and feel like chocolate mousse if you whip it long enough.
  • Once it starts to form soft peaks you can add your essential oil (if desired) and you are done!
  • Spoon it into jars and put lids on.
  • Store in a cool location.

 

Notes:

  • If you are looking for a good source to purchase body product ingredients check out Mountain Rose Herbs.  Exceptional quality, certified organic ingredients.
  • Cocoa butter helps increase or maintain skin elasticity and is very hydrating.
  • Coconut oil is, among many other things, rich in antioxidants and contains natural microbial and antibacterial properties making it a great oil choice for body products.
  • A little goes a long way.  Use a small amount!

This post has been shared on Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways 56, Farm Girl Friday Blogfest #12, Homestead Barn Hop #91, Seasonal Celebration Wednesday #42, Wildcrafting Wednesday and Waste Not Want Not Wednesday #8.