Essential Oil Series: How to Dilute Essential Oils


We love our essential oils in our house and use them frequently and consistently to support our family's health. Because they are so potent and effective, when it comes to essential oils, less is definitely more. I remember wishing I had a dilution recipe when I first got my oils almost 10 years ago. I remember being worried about not knowing how to use them 'right'.  I knew they are suppose to be diluted but I didn't have a great method for figuring that out.

Luckily for you, I have this handy oil dilution reference chart. Now you can easily see how many drops of oil you should add to various bottle sizes before filling the rest of the way with a carrier oil. Remember, my favorite carrier oil is Fractionated Coconut Oil because it stays liquid at room temperature and it doesn't leave a greasy feel. Any good, pure vegetable oil will do however: jojoba, almond, olive, extra virgin coconut, avocado, etc.



As you can see, babies and kids really don't need a lot of oils for them to work effectively. Even for adults' everyday use we shouldn't be using that much. It is only when we need to address a targeted area or concern do we ever up the amount we put on; and then it is only temporarily until the issue is resolved.

Essential oils are great and we can use them in so many ways to support our health. I hope this chart makes you feel a little more comfortable and confident to start using your oils. If you want to get oil blends pre-diluted for babies and children, Doterra just released an awesome Kid Collection with safe and gentle oils made just for the precious little bodies in our care. You can check it out here. We've been absolutely loving them at our house. My little guy will walk over to me and life up foot and ask for me to put some oils on.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions. And check out the rest of the Essential Oil Series.


Essential Oil Series: How to Use Essential Oils


In the first part of our Essential Oil Series we learned what an essential oil actually is and how the purity of the oil really matters. Just like we are passionate about the quality and sourcing of our food, we should be diligent about the purity of our essential oils. If you have one that is Certified Therapeutic Grade Pure, you can actually take it internally. Other oils without that certification could be up to 80% of fillers, contaminants and unwanted chemicals. No thank you.

Essential Oils are so versatile and can be taken in 3 ways.

AROMATICALLY  ________________________________________________________________

INHALING: This is the easiest way to use essential oils. Place 1 drop of oil in your hands and rub them together. Cup your hands around your nose and mouth while inhaling deeply through your nose. This is the fastest way to get oils into your body to start working instantly. If you don't want the oil on your hands, you could also just take a deep breath right from the bottle.

DIFFUSING: I love this method for purifying the air, mood boosting and just creating an overall healthy atmosphere be it at home, in the car or on your desk at work. It's as easy as it gets. Just add 5-7 drops of your favorite essential oil(s) to a diffuser with water and sit back and enjoy the benefits of aromatic use.

TOPICALLY  _____________________________________________________________________

This is just what it sounds like, applying directly to the skin. Essential oils are potent, that is why we love them, so it is recommended to dilute every oil with a carrier oil before applying to the skin. A carrier oil is an oil like fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, etc that can help dilute the essential oil and allow us to rub/ carry the same amount of essential oils to a larger area of skin without using too much. Place 1-2 drops of oil of choice on hand, dilute with carrier oil and apply to the target area. Some of the best places to apply oils are typically the bottoms of the feel until you are sure there are no sensitivities then you can move to inside of the wrists, temples, base of neck and along the spine.

INTERNALLY  ___________________________________________________________________

I would never recommend this option for any but DoTERRA oils because I can't speak to their purity. Always look for the Supplement Facts on the label to make sure it is 100% pure and safe for ingestion. There are many opinions regarding ingesting essential oils so make sure to do your own research and choose what's best for you. 

You can place a drop of oil under your tongue for immediate absorption, place 1-2 drops in a glass of water, or fill an empty veggie capsule to take the oils internally. One thing to note is that some oils, especially citrus can break down petrochemical in certain plastics so make sure you are drinking from glass, ceramic or stainless steel containers.



*Any suggestions made on this blog are very specific to doTERRA essential oils and should not be used with oils from another source. Statements made on this website about doTERRA Essential Oils have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician. If you are currently on medication, please do not stop.

How to Dehydrate Garlic Cloves

So I am one of those people who buys garlic in bulk. Tell me I'm not the only one who gets annoyed with how much a single head of garlic costs? You can get like 4 x's that much for the same price if you buy it in bags; which I normally do to feel like I am saving money.

Well actually, I do save money. But then I am left with the problem of having a bunch of garlic that starts to send out shoots before I can get through them all. There are a couple things you can do with your extra garlic cloves that need to start being used up. You can freeze it raw for later use and pull out a few at a time as you need them; but I rarely have the freezer space (yes, even for something as small as a bag of garlic. Talk to my husband, it is his longest running complaint how full our freezer always is.) You could roast it whole in the oven and have on hand to throw into pasta dishes, sauteed veggies or any other recipe. You could also plant it, or you can dehydrate it. 


Dehydrating veggies is one of the easiest means of food preservation and pretty cheap too. I got a dehydrator years ago off a classifieds website for $15 that has served me well. You actually don't even need a dehydrator. You could use an oven on the lowest temperature or even just with the light on or if it is during the summer and you don't live in a humid area, you can dehydrate your food outside. I mean that's how food was dried for centuries and it works just as well today. Honestly, it's so dry where I live that my cloves will dry up right in the whole head if I just left them out. Especially during the winter when my house is really warm and dry.

I usually like to slice my garlic into about 4-5 slices. I feel like that is a more manageable size to use in cooking. It also makes them more even and allows for more surface face to dehydrate faster. Just make sure that if your dehydrator tray has slats like mine, that you don't cut them so small they will fall through once they are dried.

Lay them out evenly and not overlapping but they can be close since they will shrink as they dry. I like to put mine in around the afternoon and let it dry all through the night. When you check in the morning you need to make sure they are crispy and break when you bend them. There can't be any pliability. That means that they aren't all the way dry and they will mold in their container. If they are bendy and don't break, leave them on for a few more hours til they snap like a twig.

Once they are all the way dry, place the garlic slices in an airtight (preferably glass) airtight container and store in a cool. dark place. I don't grind my garlic into powder right now but you could. It is best to break, slice or grind right before using because it helps retain all its flavor and potency.

When I am ready to grind my grinder, I use a spice/coffee grinder because it breaks it down to a soft powder.

Let me know in the comments if you give this a try or if you have done it before. And check back for my posts about making homemade garlic powder and garlic salt.




Essential Oil Series: Essential Oils 101


I am so excited about the curiosity around Essential Oils these days. I grew up in a pretty holistic, alternative medicine using home so when I first heard about essential oils, almost 10 years ago, I was intrigued and open to the idea. The thing I liked most about them were that they were all natural, pure ingredients. Not the synthetic stuff from a lab which we are usually prescribed. 

As a pregnant mother for the first time, I also loved that they were safe enough to use on babies. There is almost nothing you can give to a baby medicine-wise, so I loved feeling like I had some control over my baby's wellness. We have been using them to support our health ever since and I am happy they are getting more and more mainstream. Kind of like green smoothies.

Essential Oils are finally having their moment and it is well deserved. We know, and love to use herbs because they are so good for us; but guess what? Essential oils are about 50-70% more potent than herbs. 1 drop is actually equivalent to drinking 28 cups of tea from the same source. Since they are so potent you only need 1 or 2 drops, it makes them very affordable overall.

WHAT IS AN ESSENTIAL OIL  ____________________________________________________

But what exactly are essential oils you might wonder? Well basically, they are the aromatic compounds seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants that have made them sought after for food flavoring, mood enhancing and healing aids for centuries. In fact, most medicine is based off of the molecules found in the natural world known for their healing properties. And, their natural form provides an all-natural health option to benefit our bodies.

The most common method of extracting essential oils is low-heat steam distillation where pressurized steam is circulated through the plant material. The essential oils are extracted from the plant and carried away by the steam and then collected as the water and oil naturally separate. The more pure the essential oil, the more powerful the results.

PURITY  ________________________________________________________________________

Essential oils are definitely not created equal. Many essential oils on the market are not pure. Often, they contain up to 80% filler or other elements that dilute and alter the purity of the oil which then diminishes the healthful qualities of the oil. Just like with food, quality and sourcing matters.

Since I have researched to much into the benefits of eating clean food, I already knew I would not use essential oils from companies that couldn't prove how pure their oil is. I found what I believe is the best company producing the highest quality products and best practices. DoTerra.

"Each doTERRA essential oil is also carefully and thoroughly tested using the strict CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® quality protocol. Experienced essential oil users will immediately recognize the superior quality standard for naturally safe, purely effective therapeutic-grade doTERRA essential oils."   -Doterra Website

Doterra essentially (see what I did there?) wrote the book on essential oil purity testing. No one had or has a higher grade of pure oils than them. I love that there are quality controls in place by testing EVERY batch. I also appreciate that they source their products from small farms in the countries where those plants are native grown while paying a fair wage to the farmers and distillers. They are involved every step of the way so they know with confidence that their oil is pure.

Up next, I am sharing about How to Use Essential Oils but if you are ready to get started now click



How to get Food Grade Buckets for FREE

I'm excited to share with you a trick I have been using for years to store my bulk food safely and inexpensively. Who else is gearing up for all the Christmas baking coming just around the corner in December? It seems like I am always cooking or baking something extra in the weeks leading up to Christmas. As someone who cooks a lot anyway, I like to have all of my dry ingredients on hand.

For those of us who cook a lot and like to save money, buying in bulk is a necessity. But when you buy food in bulk, it usually comes bagged in plastic or thick paper packages. Those are nightmare to scoop out of without making a mess. They tip over easily and pests can quickly chew through the thin layers to the food beneath. Not to mention issues with humidity and food going rancid.

Luckily there is an easy way to prevent that from happening. Food. Grade. Buckets.




The good news is that food grade buckets are really easy to get. You can buy them for about 4 dollars a piece. Buying 1 or 2 like that isn't a big deal. But if you want to stock up it can quickly make a pretty big dent in your budget. Some people try to get around this by buying the buckets at like Home Depot because they are less expensive, but you shouldn't do that.

You might be asking yourself if just any plastic bucket will work as long as it is clean. The answer is no. The plastic used for food grade buckets must be free of dyes, additives and recycled plastic products shown to be harmful to humans. The reason for this is that some foods will leach additives and chemicals from their containers which can poison your food. Most food grade plastic is in the HDPE category or high density polyethylene with the plastic code 2. You can find it buy turning the product over and looking for the number in the triangle.

I don't love the thought of spending $100 on buckets just to store my food. I'd rather spend it on yummy food! So one thing I found out many years ago is that you can go to your local grocery store bakery and ask they if they have any left-over buckets. They are usually happy to wash them out and give them to you for FREE. I just call ahead and ask and they will put some aside for me until they have as much as I need.

 What I love most though is that they come in a range of sizes from 5 gallons down to 1 gallon. My favorite size is actually the 3.5 gallon. It seems the perfect size for most packages of grain I get from Costco. And, they fit the same kind of lid as a 5 gallon bucket so I can use my favorite Gamma Seal Lids. Guys, if you haven't tried these, you are missing out. There is a ring that goes around the bucket then an inner lid screws on top making it so easy to get to your food without having to pry off the whole lid. It keeps it totally airtight and they come in a range of colors so you can color code your food easily. Love them.

These are the sizes of buckets I use

  •  wheat in 6 gallon buckets (which also can fit the gamma seal lids)
  • sugar, flour and long term storage grains and other food in 5 gallon buckets
  • rices, oats, quinoa, lentils, long term storage beans in 3.5 gallon buckets
  • beans and specialty rice like basmati or jasmine in 1.5 gallons buckets 
I have saved a ton over the years by storing my bulk foods in these buckets I've gotten for free. If for some reason you don't have a grocery bakery by you that has these buckets, I have 1 more tip. Pickles usually come in a 5 gallon buckets so those would be easy to grab from a fast food restaurant, or other restaurant that uses pickles. Just make sure you wash them VERY well to make sure you get the pickle smell out. 

Have any of you tried this? What is your favorite size of bucket?

XOXO,

Provident Princess





Essential Oil Series: Are Essential Oils Safe?

It's a common experience for someone to be so excited about their new oils that they want to use them for everything and on everyone but hold on there tiger, safety first. Just like the we love sunlight for its ability to help us synthesize Vitamin D, we are also very aware of the harm it can do from over exposure. Because oils are so effective and potent (which is why we love and use them), we really need to know how to use and not overuse them. 1-2 drops is enough, we don't need to dump on the whole bottle.

There are a few other points to consider to make your entry into essential oil life go more smoothly. I happen to know first-hand how being uneducated about oils can disrupt your journey into a more natural and healthy lifestyle. Let's just say I ended up with a burning, red face because I didn't know what a 'hot' oil was and that I should've have used it in a steam room. OUCH!

Lucky for you, you can be forewarned. Here are some common questions people ask.

Can I Put the Oils Anywhere?  ______________________________________________________

Normally if you are applying oil topically then we apply it to a targeted site on the body. But you should NEVER put oils directly into your eyes or your ears. The sensitive skin inside of your mouth might be more easily irritated by undiluted oils so be mindful of this before your first use. A good place to start is on the bottoms of the feet or along the spine until you know if you have any sensitivities to the oils. Speaking of dilution...

Why Should I Dilute My Oils? What is a Carrier Oil? ___________________________________

Essential oils are very potent so we only need to apply 1-2 drops to get the benefit it offers. One drop doesn't go very far when you try to rub it onto your body so we use a carrier oil that helps to “carry” our essential oil onto and into our skin. Our favorite is doTERRA’s fractionated coconut oil, but other options are olivie oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, cold pressed coconut oil, or any pure vegetable oil The benefits of using a carrier oil are:
-increases surface area of application 
-decreases your risk for sensitivities to the pure oils (especially important in babies)
-gives you a base to create your own blends by mixing your favorites together
-helps avoid wasting so much of your precious essential oil

What if I Get Some in My Eye? ______________________________________________________

My husband could tell you about this one. We know that oil and water do not mix so please do not try to wash off with water. It will only push the oil in deeper away from the water. You will want to create a larger area for the essential oil to disperse into; so rub ONLY a carrier oil over your eyes and face to dilute the essential oil back out of your precious eyes. Your vision might be a little blurred for a bit because of the carrier oil but it will be back to normal soon enough!

Which Oils Should I Avoid Using on Baby? __________________________________________

The National Alliance of Hollistic Aromatherapy lists these oils as irritating or caustic to the skin:

-cinnamon bark -clove bud -citronella -cumin -lemongrass -thyme -oregano -cassia-

There is so much overlap with different oils offering similar benefits, so it is a good idea to avoid applying these oils to young babies and using milder, gentler options. These oils can still be used confidently on ourselves, as long as we dilute them with a carrier oil of our choice. Test them on a small area your skin for your initial use. When you join our team, you get access to our private Facebook Community that is a wealth of knowledge to find the oils for the concerns you have.

Are Essential Oils Safe During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding? ____________________________

It is important to find a healthcare provider who is knowledgeable and will support you in the use of complementary and alternative medicine. As with any product, your midwife or physician should be aware of and approve your use of specific essential oils. The skin is much more sensitive and permeable during pregnancy, so be mindful of always diluting your oils well before application. Some oils that are good to avoid during pregnancy, even diluted, are clary sage, myrrh, and any blends containing these oils. These oils can promote uterine contractions and are best saved for use during actual labor, when delivery is intended. The safe use of oils during this beautiful time can be a natural and effective way to balance mood and reduce anxiety.

Should I Avoid the Sun After Applying Essential Oils? __________________________________

Yes and No. Certain oils can react with sunlight when applied to the skin and then exposed to direct UV rays. Make sure to always dilute these oils well, apply them to an area that is not exposed to the sun, or wait 24 hours before spending any amount of time soaking up its warmth! Oils that are considered phototoxic are: lemon, grapefruit, bergamot, lime, cumin, and any blends containing these.

Can I Use Essential Oils in the Bath? _________________________________________________

Absolutely! A bath is a great way to use your essential oils. But just like some of our other cautions, never add an oil that is 'hot', or caustic to skin in your bath water.  Always apply your oils to some kind of carrier before adding to your running water. I love epsom salt but vegetable glycerin or any shower gel/bubble bath that you already use and love, preferably unscented, can be used as well. A good amount to use as you learn your sensitivity levels would be 2-3 drops!

Can Essential Oils Counteract Prescription Medicine? __________________________________

Just like you should speak to your Dr. or Midwife about essential oil usage during pregnancy or breastfeeding; you should definitely consult your physician regarding any reactions that could occur, especially if the medication to which you are referring is vital to your livelihood. There are a couple that truly stand out, such as wintergreen oil being avoided by those taking blood thinners, and being mindful that tetracyclines can make the skin more sensitive to citrus oil + sunlight reaction. Most western medicine physicians will have limited knowledge when it comes to essential oils, so seeking out the opinion of a holistic doctor or registered aromatherapist is always encouraged. It never hurts to do a little research of your own as well.

All Set? Feeling confident to begin using essential oils? I hope so. Remember that one of the best benefits of joining our team is being connected to a huge community with so much knowledge and the resources to be successful in your natural wellness journey. Click HERE if you are ready to take the plunge into essential oils. And please leave me a comment if you have any specific questions.

Read the other installments of the Essential Oil Series.

Get Started


Hi! I am so glad you're ready to dive into essential oils and learn all the ways they can help you. I know it can feel really overwhelming to know where to start; but that's why I am here!

Alright, ready? Click HERE and make sure you have my number 184557 in the enroller field so you can be added to our team!

When you get started you'll have access to our private Facebook community as well as ongoing education, wellness consults, free products + gifts. But the best part of all? Friendship! We have loved connecting with like-minded friends + developing bonds to last a lifetime.





I recommend buying a discounted Starter kit and that includes Loyalty Rewards membership for free.

The Family Essentials Kit- $150

This beginner kit includes 10 core essential oils in 5 ml bottles with On Guard + Peppermint Beadlets. We covered these amazing 10 core oils in our Essential Oil Series.

The Home Essentials Kit- $275-

Our most popular kit! The Home Essentials has the 10 core essential oils you'll need to get going but in a 15ml size- so you get more bang for your buck. Also included is an essential oil diffuser which is a crucial and exciting tool to have for your essential oil usage!

The Natural Solutions Kit- $550

My FAVORTIE kit. This kit has all you need to get started with your core essential oils, some of my favorite mood oils, a diffuser, vitamins (doTERRA’s number one selling product) and much more! PLUS When you purchase this kit, if you order 100PV the next month you will receive 100PV($100) in free points! So loads and loads of free goodies with this one. It truly is the best value!

So now you’re ready to get going? Click HERE!

You’ll first fill our your information and THEN be picking your kit and oils! My Wellness advocate ID is #184557 – be sure that’s entered in so you can receive the benefits of our community!
Once you check out – email me providentprincess@yahoo.com for a free gift and access to our exclusive FB group!


GETTING STARTED FAQ _________________________________________________________

Do I have to order monthly?

Nope, you do not have to order monthly – or ever again should you not want to! We hope that through our FB community we can educate and inspire you in a way that you love using your essential oils. And, ordering them through the LRP system really is the best way to save lots of money and earn free shipping and extra products!

Do I have to sell a certain amount?

Absolutely not! Sharing essential oils is only an option. You do not have to share, meet quotas, sell a certain amount etc to enjoy your wholesale membership. If you do have a desire to build a business with us please select the Distributor option so we can best support and mentor you! Also be aware that you can always change your mind and change to a distributor later.

What is the Return Policy?

DoTERRA wants you to love your oils so they have a great return policy. You can read the return policy in detail here.

What If I don’t know how to use them?

That’s totally fine, that’s why we are here! As you join our community, you will receive welcome info, access to our exclusive Facebook member only group and a wellness consultation where we chat with you one on one about your needs. Please also search this website as there are a lot of tips on safety and oil usage.

We can’t wait to welcome you!!

Sour Cherry Lime Summer Mocktail


Here at Provident Princess we love enjoying seasonal foods and the easiest time to do that is definitely during summer with the abundance of crop varieties and farmers' markets popping up all over. Right now we are celebrating all things cherry. Summer always seems to include all sorts of fun drinks. And for all of you non-drinkers out there, I have the perfect Sour Cherry Lime Mocktail to share with you!  It is supper easy and like all recipes you will find here, this Cherry Lime Mocktail has the simplest and most whole ingredients. I'm not into a lot of fuss. When we buy food in season, the flavors don't need a lot of help to shine.

I was coming back from dropping one of my daughters off at a friends and I noticed a house with a beautiful cherry tree out back which didn't look touched or taken care of at all. So what did I do? I pulled over and knocked on their door of course. The nicest man answered and assured me that I was welcome to take as many cherries as I wanted.

Honestly, I know many people feel intimidated by knocking on a stranger's door asking if they are going to use their fruit; but most people are relieved to give it away. They are usually not the ones who planted the trees and don't really know what to do or can't use all the food it produces. Many people have acted like I was the one who was doing them a favor by taking it off their hands so they wouldn't have the mess to pick up later when it all fell unused to the ground. So if you ever have the chance, Do. It.

I showed back up later that day and we picked and picked and picked. It was so hot. We stuck with it until we had about 3 grocery bags half full and you couldn't even tell where on the tree we were picking because there were still so many cherries on there.

We got back home and were in for a huge surprise. The cherries weren't pie cherries like I had thought. They were Sour Cherries! Instead of the Cherry Pie filling I'd envisioned making for a decadent cheesecake, I had to think of how else to use this sour cherry harvest.

Have you seen that Cherry Juice Costco is sampling at Costco? They are touting it like it's the next pomegranate juice because of its high volume of anti-oxidants . It's made from this type of cherry! (And it is delicious btw, 2 thumbs up from the toddlers.)

Since the cherries are so tart, you can't really eat them plain, so we had to get to work washing and  pitting. My girls had a blast working the cherry pitter and really learned how to get in the groove.

So what can you do with sour cherries? They dehydrate wonderfully. Dried sour cherries at the store sell for 5.99/lb! That was by far our favorite method to eat these delicious cherries. We also made Sour Cherry Jam which I couldn't eat all the time but it is fun to have in the rotation. We also made Sour Cherry Syrup for pancakes and waffles.

I'm not a soda drinker. I've just never liked it, but my children and husband do. So every now and then I will buy some sparkling water to add to some juice to make it a little special. Sparkling water is so much better than soda. No sweeteners, added sodium or caffeine buzzes for the kids.

I had a box of La Croix Sparkling Lime Water left-over from one of these purchases and thought it would be the perfect vehicle to try our new Sour Cherry Syrup we canned. Let me tell you. This drink is like summer in a cup.



Ingredients________________________________________________________________________
3 (12 oz) cans of La Croix Sparkling Lime Water
3/4 cup Sour Cherry Syrup (you can find cherry syrup in the store too by the drink mixes if you don't               have your own homemade)
Slices of fresh limes and cucumbers for garnish (1-2 per glass)

Directions_________________________________________________________________________
Fill 4 Tumblers filled with cubed ice. In a pitcher combine sparkling lime water and cherry syrup. Add the cucumbers to the pitcher to start to infuse its flavor into the drink. You can leave it like this in the fridge until you are ready to serve. Stir to combine syrup and pour into tumblers of ice. Garnish with a lime slice and enjoy immediately.


Perfect for a summer evening spent outdoors.  I also like to garnish the serving platter with limes and sweet cherries so guests know what flavors to expect. I love how this recipe takes so little effort but really gives such an elevated look to any get-together.

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe. And if you are looking for just a single drink for yourself to enjoy, 2 Tablespoons of the cherry syrup to 1/2 cup of sparkling lime water. You're Welcome.

Cheers,

PP

All Natural Homemade Lavender Bath Salts


I am always on the look out for nice, thoughtful, inexpensive gifts and I've got the perfect one for you today. Recently, I was invited to a summer garden party and needed to bring a hostess gift. Hostess gifts aren't supposed to be expensive, just something to show your appreciation for the invitation and effort that went into the event. Just something thoughtful you know your hostess would like.

When choosing a hostess gift, keep in mind the recipient and what they would like. This particular hostess is someone who loves flowers, especially roses and the smell of lavender. I also happen to know that she loves baths.

I could have run out and bought some fancy bath salts but have you ever read the back of a jar of bath salts you can buy at the store? They are full of hormone disrupting chemicals and synthetic ingredients that probably do more harm then good.

Luckily, we have the perfect diy natural lavender bath salts that any hostess would love.

We at Provident Princess love all things natural and non-toxic. This recipe for lavender bath salts is all goodness. First we have epsom salt which helps relieve sore muscles and joints with its magnesium and sulfate content. Second, it smell divine from the pure food grade essential oil which is made from the actual plant and not from some lab. And lastly, we add a little carrier oil which helps equally distribute the essential oil throughout the tub while also 'carrying' the oil into your skin so that it absorbs and really benefits from all the health benefits of the essential oil. And bonus, it acts as a moisturizer too after the bath so no extra lotion is needed.

The best part? Instead of spending $20 or more, this costs less than a dollar to make and has way better ingredient than anything you could find in a store.



Ingredients_______________________________________________________________________

  • 1 3/4 cup Epsom Salt
  • 1 Tbls Carrier Oil- I like coconut oil, but you can use olive oil 
  • 10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil- (I only use Doterra Oil, they have such quality ingredients and rigorous testing to make sure their oils live up to their high standards. You can find out more here). 
  • 1 Tbls of Fresh Lavender Flowers - if you don't have these it is fine, they just make the salts look pretty and show what its made of. Kind of like how you garnish a plate with things that are in a dish so you know what's in it. 


Directions________________________________________________________________________
It's really simple as can be.

  • Pour the Epsom Salt into a mixing bowl (glass or stainless steel- wood will absorb the oils)
  • Pour the Lavender Essential Oil drop by drop into the carrier oil and mix together with a spoon. 
  • Pour the combined oil over the salt and stir until it is equally distributed and the salt looks like wet sand. 
  • Stir in the lavender flowers through out.
  • Transfer into whatever glass storage container you would like. Do not use plastic. 

Enjoy your self or use as a gift.

Here's a few pics from the tea party, wasn't it gorgeous?



It was the perfect way to spend a summer's evening chatting with friends and sipping mint julep. I loved how the Lavender Bath Salts fit right into the garden theme. Especially, since I had picked the lavender from my own garden.


To learn more about Essential Oils see my post on Essential Oils 101

Strawberry Chia Seed Freezer Jam

I am loving summer already. Yes, it's fun having the kids home from school and having tons of fun and crazy adventures; but what I am really excited about is my garden! I transplanted my strawberries last fall because they weren't doing great where they were and now they are producing abundantly. So in honor of my first strawberry harvest this season, I am so excited to share my favorite strawberry freezer jam recipe with you all.


It is so healthy. Made with low sugar and chia seeds for extra protein and fiber. It is delicious on toast. or my oldest loves it on waffles instead of syrup. I also mix it into plain whole milk yogurt for my babies.

This recipe is so fast and such an easy way to save money on organic jam. And if you have been interested in canning but didn’t know where to start, this is the perfect gateway into the world of canning and preserving. I know it can seem intimidating, but try this freezer jam recipe first. It is so easy and fast, and will be the perfect confidence builder to try one of the many other step-by-step recipes I have on the blog. 

Read on for my super easy, low sugar, Strawberry Chia Seed Freezer Jam and stay tuned on the blog for many more healthy, plant-based, low cost, real food recipes and ideas.

Strawberry Chia Seed Freezer Jam
Ingredients:
·        3 cups strawberries, chopped
·        ¼ cup non-gmo sugar or honey -(I know a lot of people love to use honey because of its health benefits but it isn’t worth it to use in this recipe. This recipe gets heated, just for a bit, but it is enough to kill any of the beneficial things in honey. So I use cane sugar and save my raw honey for when it will make a difference. It is non-gmo and way less expensive than raw honey.
·        2 Tbsp ground chia seeds- you can totally use chia seeds whole but I just don’t like the texture or look of all the seeds so I grind mine. About 1 ½ Tbsp chia seeds will make 2 Tbsp ground. Or just use 2 Tbsp whole.
·        1 Tbsp lemon juice- this helps retain color and texture
2 half pint canning jars

Directions     

1. Combine the sugar and ground chia seeds in a sauce pan and stir til equally distributed. (if you are using whole seeds don’t worry about adding them until you add the lemon at the end. With ground chia seeds it helps to add them to other dry ingredients or they will clump and start to gel immediately after being added to a liquid and it is hard to incorporate them evenly. 

2. Add the chopped strawberries to the sugar and chia seeds. Stir around and let sit for 10 minutes. The sugar will macerate the strawberries helping to release their juices making them break up easier.

 3. Turn on heat to medium and gently mash the berries until they break up a little and reach your desired texture. I like some chunks but mostly spreadable.

4. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until berries are soft.

5. Take off heat and add lemon juice and whole chia seeds if using. Stir til incorporated evenly. 

6.     Pour into half-pint canning jars and refrigerate for 24 hours then move to freezer. Take one out and enjoy over toast, pancakes or yogurt. 

Cheers, 

PP

Easy Homemade Vanilla Extract

I love making thinkg from scratch. There is just something so satisfying to me about providing something to my family from start to finish. I love knowing that even if I buy the highest quality ingredients, I am still saving more money doing it myself rather than buying a premade lower quality item. That is definitely the case with making your own homemade vanilla extract.

"There's no such thing as too much vanilla." That is a saying my girls and I have whenever we need to measure out vanilla for a recipe and inevitably add more. We love to just open the bottle of vanilla extract and take a big whiff. It's amazing.

What isn't amazing is the price of vanilla extract lately. It has skyrocketed over the last couple of years. Last year, I went to Costco to buy my usual bottle of vanilla, only to discover that what used to cost me around $14 was $20. It's up to $25 now. That is a huge increase and unfortunately it's not going to change any time soon. I decided to do something about that and made my own vanilla extract and thought I'd share the recipe with you today.

Unlike most commodity crops, vanilla has no price regulations, which means that it is susceptible to dramatic price fluctuations due to supply and demand. For almost 10 years there was an abundance of vanilla on the market. That drove the prices down to the point where farmers couldn't make a living wage. So what did they do? They burned all their vanilla bean vines and decided to grow a different crop that would make them money.

Who can blame them?

But what that did is make an incredible shortage of vanilla beans for the next few years and prices skyrocketed. And this is where we find ourselves now.

Luckily, we don't have to be slaves to whatever price vanilla is currently selling at. We can make our own vanilla extract with just 2 ingredients. And what's best about it is that it will last forever.

INGREDIENTS   __________________________________________________________________ 
This is seriously the easiest 'recipe' in the world. All you need is Vodka and Vanilla Beans


Make sure to get grade B vanilla beans. Grade A are meant to be cooked with but grade B are meant for infusing and will give you a better flavor.  These look great or you can use Tahitian vanilla beans for a different flavor.  This is essentially a one time purchase. So while it might be a bit of money up front (about the same as buying a bottle of extract at Costco), you can continue to use these same vanilla beans indefinitely.

The good news is that even though the vanilla beans are pricey, you can buy the cheapest kind of vodka you can find. All you need is 80 proof, but the vodka itself doesn't matter. I like to buy vodka in a glass bottle so I can just use that for storing my vanilla extract too. If you buy vodka in plastic you should use a mason jar or other glass jar to store it in. Make sure it is tall enough to fit the beans standing up.

DIRECTIONS  ___________________________________________________________________
The usual recipe for vanilla extract that you would buy at the store is about 2-3 beans per cup of alcohol and is called single fold vanilla. The super fancy, extremely flavorful vanilla chefs use to create their dishes with a vanilla flavor that can't be matched by just doubling the amount of single fold vanilla is called double fold vanilla. Double fold vanilla calls for 5 vanilla beans per cup of alcohol.

Chose whichever you prefer. Just know that this vanilla extract can last forever. You can just top off the bottle with new vodka as you use it.


  • Drop the vanilla beans in the vodka whole. Don't slice them open. Some people like to slice the beans open so you can see the little seeds but it doesn't make the flavor any stronger to do it that way. If you leave your beans whole, you can pull them out one at a time for recipes that call for vanilla bean seeds. Just snip off the end and squeeze out the seeds to use in your recipe. Then just throw the shells back into the extract. It's like you are getting vanilla bean paste for free. 
  • Place your vodka in a cool, dark place and give it a shake every now and then. 
Your vanilla extract will be ready to use in 8 weeks, but will be best if you can wait at least 6 months. 

P.S. this makes a great, inexpensive gift to give to family and friends for Christmas. Just repackage it into smaller jars. These 4 oz ones are super cute and the perfect size. Make sure to get a funnel if you don't have one. You don't want to waste a drop of this delicious extract. 

Enjoy!

PP