Lavender Lemonade and Summer

Dear fried friend,

I am seriously loving the warmth of summer. I miss the geniuine HEAT of Virginia Beach (sorry Seattle, 90 degrees isn’t quite HEAT) … something I never thought I would say!!!

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My sister and I are both expecting babies in the fall and HOW COOL IS THAT? I hosted a baby shower for her and it was super fun. We kept the guests hydrated with a root beer float punch (pour root beer in a punch bowl … add ice cream in cubes, scoops or one giant block), a giant jug of water, and a huge glass dispenser of Lavender Lemonade.

Did you know root beer and other sodas used to be made with essential oils for flavorings? That’s why people drank ginger ale for their tummies, and you would buy soda at the drugstore – because it was a tonic for health! Now we have synthetic versions to mimic the flavor of oils, which is a bummer. You can still make your own root beer or buy some fun hipster brands made with original recipes and essential oils. 

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I first enjoyed this refreshing, hydrating and detoxifying beverage at the Young Living Farm in Mona, Utah, and ever since I was in love.

I made a few gallons of it so I was totally winging the measurements (taste – pour – taste again), and you can adjust this based on your sweet/tart preferences.

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Lavender Lemonade

The only oils I ingest are the Vitality line oils from Young Living. These have passed consistent human trials and been proven to be a safe dietary supplement, and the FDA has approved them to be labelled as such. Use whatever you like! To remain compliant with FDA standards and my personal organic goals, I will only recommend these ones.

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons organic lemon juice (not from concentrate), or five juiced lemons
2 tablespoons organic lime juice (not from concentrate), or one juiced lime
1/2 cup Young Living Organic Blue Agave Nectar
4 drops Young Living Lemon Vitality Oil or Young Living Jade Lemon Vitality Oil (my preferred!)
2 drops Young Living Lavender Vitality Oil
1 – 2 drops Young Living Lime Vitality Oil
10 cups cold, filtered water
Ice cubes
Optional: Sliced organic lemon, sliced organic lime, sliced organice orange, lavender sprigs

  1. Blend 1 cup of water, the lemon and lime juice, and the agave nectar in a blender.
  2. Pour into large (1 gallon) pitcher or dispenser and add the rest of the water, stirring vigorously to combine.
  3. Add lemon, lavender and lime oils and continue stirring, then add ice cubes. Add sliced citruses as well, if you want it for gorgeousness!!
  4. Serve ice cold!!!! Add lavender sprigs to the pitcher or glasses as garnish if desired!

Stay cool my friends!!!!

Andrea

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Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup

Dear Instant,

I am literally obsessed with my Instant Pot. It is the most amazing way to use up leftovers and make food FAST!! Not that I would ever forget to defrost chicken or anything – not ME because I have my whole life together (check my Instagram for proof. My house is always clean obviously. I’m perfect).

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Today Day 2 of my personal Instant Pot revolution means a new recipe had to be invented!

Colleen and I are both pregnant and hungry for All the Things, so the fact that this came together lightning quick was wonderful!!!! This stew was DELICIOUS and our 1, 2 and 5 year old children all ate it happily!!

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Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup

I made this in the 8-quart pot. You could put it in the 6-quart pot because it’s small enough!

3 or 4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
3 fat carrots, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 cup barley, uncooked
3 or more chicken breasts, frozen is OK
2 quarts water
salt and pepper to taste

Throw (literally, throw) all ingredients in your Instant Pot. Seal it up according to manufacturer’s directions, and set on Meat/Stew and High Pressure for 20 to 30 minutes.

Release lid according to manufacturer’s directions.

ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also wonderful: Lentil Stew in the Instant Pot …. SO good … SO GOOD …

Love, love, love …

Andrea

This is what happened when I used my Instant Pot without reading directions – or, Lentil Stew in 30 Minutes

Dear fast,

I just got an Instant Pot. I joined every other human in the world on Prime Day to snag the glorious, coveted 8-quart pot and obviously change my life permanently for the better via the AWESOMENESS THAT IS PRESSURE COOKING.

Join my REALLY AWESOME Facebook group for Instant Pot addicts, I mean lovers, and enjoy our crazy, I mean educational, conversations!

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What is the Instant Pot? If you don’t already know, I am here to make life worth living again. It is pressure cooking with foolproof, pre-programmed buttons that make things so easy, and no adjusting of weights, carefully tending stove temperatures, turning heat up and down (GAH), or any of the other standard features of old-fashioned pressure cooking. (Dear Instant Pot, can you come out with a 25-quart canning version now? I will take 10 right off the top plz. THANKS! – Andrea) No defrosting meat, no cooking beans for 20 hours, no running your slow cooker all day in the baking summer heat. Just FAST.

Of course, I didn’t waste any time reading instructions. I just started putting things in the pot like an idiot. And guess what?! It came out amazing. #noregrets

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I think I was supposed to do some kind of water test first. That didn’t happen. Sorry, Instant Pot creators. My B. I did look at the seal first, does that count? Probably not.

I do recommend reading the instructions – I have been using pressure cookers and canners for years which made me feel rather cavalier/lazy/hurried, but I at least already knew what the basic process was such as VENTING and all of that, although I suppose now that I have a tasty meal in front of me I will sit down and read through the entire booklet like a good, responsible person, and see all the things I did not do and should have done *cough*.

I also didn’t measure anything because that takes TIME and I was ANXIOUS to get cooking and even MORE anxious to be eating, and I just dumped in what I HAD at the moment …  so here goes.

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Lentil Stew in 30 Minutes – super fast, super good, also delicious and amazing

I used the 8-quart pot for this. I believe it would also fit in the 6-quart as it was not very full, even after cooking. Also, next time I will double this because it’s so insanely good I WANT MORE. 

4 carrots, chopped
6 celery stalks, chopped
2 15-oz cans crushed tomatoes
2 pints chicken stock or veggie stock
2 tablespoons ghee or a a vegan alternative
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons Pav Bhaji spice blend or another favorite curry blend
7 cloves garlic
2 cups lentils (I used brown – use a combo or whatever you like)
Optional: 2 lbs frozen ground beef
Optional: Sour cream or cream, chopped fresh dill or parsley or spinach for garnish

  1. (probably optional) saute the garlic and Pav Bhaji in some fat on the stove or on the SAUTE setting of your Instant Pot.
  2. Put everything else in the pot and close it up.
  3. Proceed with manufacturer’s instructions and cook on BEAN/CHILI – I left the preset time at 30 minutes but you may be able to do it in as low as 15 minutes (I will try that next)
  4. Once cooking process is done and you have opened according to manufacturer’s instructions, garnish if desired and inhale quickly. Especially good with hot, tender naan or chappati to scoop it with!!

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Yep, it’s basically magic.

Join the Facebook group because we are that cool

Get the Instant Pot if you haven’t yet

Follow my Instagram because who can get enough of THIS!?

xoxoxox Happy COOKING!!

Andrea

 

 

All Day Sipper – grab a mason jar!

Dear sipper,

I really love the recipes from Trim Healthy Mama, especially the drinks! Miz Carmen got me hooked on them on Pickle Day and now I am kind of obsessed. Just a little.

The amazing authors at THM allow us to SHARE their recipes online as well as our tweaks, so you get to enjoy this delicious drink, too!!!

If you like this … grab the book. There’s more. Lots, lots more.  And the pictures are droolable.

This recipe is called The Shrinker because the ingredients are thermogenic and help promote energy and boost metabolism! Hey, sign me up for that. You can use it to sip on between meals to reduce snack cravings, or just stay cool and hydrated all summer!

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The Shrinker by the lovely ladies at Trim Healthy Mama

2 Oolong tea bags (I use looseleaf tea – about one tablespoon per tea bag)
1 mug boiling water (8 – 12 ounces)
1/4 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk or if you are nut-free 1/2 teaspoon Just Gelatin, 1 teaspoon Integral Collagen, 1 teaspoon MCT oil, and optional 1/4 teaspoon Sunflower Lecithin. Dissolve the gelatin into the mug of hot brewed tea, add the other ingredients in the blender, and 1/2 cup cold water. Ultra creamy!!!!
1 or 2 generous pinches Mineral Salt
1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 to 4 fat pinches of Pure Stevia Extract, or 2 to 3 teaspoons Super Sweet Blend, or sweeten to your own taste
1/2 – to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 1 drop Cinnamon Vitality Oil
1 to 2 pinches cayenne pepper (I like to double this)
Ice cubes and cold water

  1. Steep the tea bags in about 8 – 12 ounces of hot water in a quart jar. Allow to cool and remove tea bags (I usually reuse them!).
  2. Pour the tea into a blender and add the almond milk (or your replacement), salt, vanilla, sweetener, cinnamon, and cayenne. This is your Shrinker concentrate!! Blend well!! I like to make a 4x batch of this and keep in the fridge for a few days’ worth of drinks. Fast and easy!!! It doesn’t take any longer to make extra!
  3. Place the concentrate in a quart jar (or 1/4th of it if you multiplied the recipe), and fill to the top with ice cubes. Add enough cold water to the liquid reaches the top of the jar. Put a lid on, shake and insert a straw. OH MY WORD!!!! THIS IS SO GOOD!!!

Enjoy, my friends, and stay cool!!!!

Andrea

Instablast – my life is perfect
Oils on tap – I use them for everything

 

Favorite Dill Pickles

Dear jarred,

We love dill pickles – a lot. We eat a lot of them. I prefer to can them whole – with the blossom end trimmed off, of course – because spears can tend to get a little soft. Sometimes I’ll open a jar, cut them into spears, and then replace them in the brine and stash in the fridge for snacking.

How do YOU like your dill pickles?

I’ve talked about these on the blog before, but we need to talk about them again!

The pictures here came from one of our 3-day long canning sessions with the legendary Domestic Endeavors. Her spacious, airy house is perfect for long assembly lines and her giant refrigerator holds enough food to feed multiple armies!!! We always leave her house feeling well-fed, happy and exhausted from our productive labors.

She shared a dill pickle recipe with me, which was given to her by a friend, and is a very simple and basic recipe and simply DELICIOUS. My uncle later gave me HIS favorite family recipe, and it was virtually identical except for the batch sizes – this must be a true classic!!!

I have used this recipe to pickle green beans (dilly beans), squash, okra, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and anything else I find in the fridge during pickling season.

Download the recipe here. Read about the Food Lab pickling event here.

Simple Dill Pickle Recipe

Substrate:

32 lb 4″ pickling cucumbers (10 lb smaller, 12 lb larger)
10 onions (1/3 per quart)
4 garlic bulbs (2 cloves per quart)
2 – 3 bunches dill (1 – 2 blossoms per quart)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper per quart
1/2 teaspoon alum per quart (optional – we never used this. Alternatively, you could try a grap leaf, or just leave it out altogether)
1 teaspoon pickling spice per quart
Put all ingredients except cucumbers and onions in jar. Cut onions in thirds, add to jars, then pack in cucumers, Begin heating water bath, then prepare brine.

Brine:

3 quart filtered water
1 quart apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s is my favorite – if you buy another brand, beweare it does not say apple cider flavored vinegar)
1 cup pickling salt
(Takes about four batches)
Cover cucumbers to 1/2″ headspace with boiling brine. Wipe rims, screw on lids and rings. Process 10 – 15 minutes. Remove and store 6 – 8 weeks to allow flavors to penetrate.

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Fresh dill is where it all begins. Finding fresh dill is the hardest ingredient to source, but it makes ALL the difference in the finished product.

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Long, firm beans have the ends snapped off and are prepared to go into seasoned jars for pickling. Acres of beans.

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A good recipe should be nice and spattered! A really good recipe needs to be reprinted every time, ha!!!

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Jars are filled with seasonings and lined up to be packed with cucumbers or green beans. By the time we get to the end of the day I am usually digging through the fridge to see what else I can try pickling. I usually do a few jars of just onions – pickled onions are AMAZING – and some 4-ounce jars of garlic cloves.  My father-in-law loves those, but he’s only allowed to eat them when my mother-in-law is out of town!

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Green beans and cucumbers are packed in as tightly as they reasonably can be, without crushing or smashing.

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Outside, a washing assembly line is set up. I like to start with fresh, organic produce. Cucumbers have to be canned within 24 hours of picking for optimal crispness in the jar! The first washing stage can be whatever you like to use to cleanse your produce – I use Thieves Fruit and Veggie Soak to make sure there are no dangerous residues or “friends” in the produce. You can use a non-toxic dish soap like Thieves Dish Soap and add Grapeseed Extract, a drop of Digize Essential Oil, or another favorite edible cleaner.

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The following bussing tubs contain water and the cucumbers are shifted from the soapy cleansing water through several stages of rinsing water until they are completely rinsed and soap-free. From there, they are taken inside for trimming and packing.

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Cucumbers have to be kept cold and crisp! Miz Carmen had the brilliant idea of lining the bottom of the cooler with blocks of Blue Ice and clean towels!! This kept the cucumbers icy-chilled all day. And yes, it was in the baking 90s.

 

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Packed jars, ready to load in the canner. A rim-wiper cleans the tops and then adds lids and rings. A busser loads them into a bussing tray and whisks them outside to the rows of canners.

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It’s nice to have a team manning the canners!

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We were kept well-hydrated by our hostess, who kept us loaded up with ice-cold quart jars of Trim Healthy Mama drinks. One of the other canning ladies crocheted adorable jar cozies that kept our drinks cold and our hands dry!

 

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The finished product is so satisfying – every canner loves to see rows of shiny, clean lids, and hear that satisfying pop of the lids sealing! Once they had cooled for 24 hours, we removed the rings for another day’s use, washed the rims and threads of the jars, and took our individual cases home to enjoy all year long.

Much love,

Andrea

Instacool – I like pictures 
Oils – I like oils

Four Infused Chocolate Sweets for Your Sweetheart [but mostly for you, let’s be real]

Dear sweethearts,

Sometimes you just need some chocolate, ya know? You can make these under the guise of crafting sweet treats for your Valentine, but make sure you put a secret stash in the freezer for, like, emergencies or whatever. Chocolate emergencies are a thing.

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I dreamed up these recipes by having a stack of chocolate in my kitchen, a row of Vitality oils begging to become something delicious, and an insatiable crave for the fruit of the cacao bean in my heart. I ended up creating these based on what I had on hand, and a desire make Valentine’s treats that are gluten-free.

These are basically assembly instructions since these recipes are so ridiculously easy, you pretty much just melt a bunch of stuff and then let it get solid again. Enjoy. 

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Ingredients

Sugar and Chocolate: Use organic. Use high-quality chocolate. Use Ghirardelli’s or better. Whatever you choose, know that it matters. Cheap chocolate cannot be dressed up enough to taste like quality chocolate. Quality chocolate needs no dressing up to taste amazing.

Essential Oils for Infusing: I use Young Living’s line of Vitality oils for flavoring and spicing up dishes in the kitchen! Vitality oils are approved by the FDA for ingestion, are labelled for supplement use and are delicious, fresh and 100% chemical-free. They are distilled without the use of solvents and grown in pesticide-free soil without any chemical sprays – not even organic ones! You might already have essential oils for flavoring, or you can go here and click “Member” to purchase a 50% off bundle of oils, including five Vitality oils. (Read more about essential oil stuffs here)

download all the recipes in one handy PDF 

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Frankly My Dear Peanut Butter Cups

Rhett Butler might bring the swoon to the silver screen, but these peanut butter cups will have your lover falling all over you with adoration. I don’t even know what I just said but I was really trying to work that Frankly phrase into the name of these delicious, freaking amazing cups of delight. 

printable PDF

1 cup organic, creamy peanut butter, well-churned to mix in the oil **CHECK the label – even “natural” and “organic” peanut butters may include additional sugar, palm oils and hydrogenated soybean oil**
1 Tablespoon Kerrygold or raw butter, melted
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
12 ounces Ghirardelli’s semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces Ghiradelli’s milk chocolate chips
2 drops Frankincense Vitality essential oil
Paper mini-muffin cup liners, about 30 – 35

  1. Whisk 1/2 cup peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar and salt together with a fork. Set aside.
  2. In a glass microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter together, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and smooth. When fully silky-smooth, stir in 2 drops of Frankincense Vitality oil and stir vigorously.
  3. Place about one teaspoon of chocolate in each mini muffin cup.
  4. Spoon a teaspoon of peanut butter filling onto each chocolate blob.
  5. Spoon a final teaspoon of chocolate on top of each peanut butter blob, smoothing out the chocolate. Remove to the refrigerator or freezer to chill until firm; store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer and ENJOY! into the center of each muffin cup.

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Citrus Dream Meltaways

My friend Holly taught me how to make meltaways back in Virginia Beach. I couldn’t remember exactly how we did it so let’s be real, I just had to make measurements up to recreate our chocolate experience – but follow these measurements approximately and you’ll have delightful melt-in-your-mouth chocolate treats. You can use any flavorings you like – citrus is a particular favorite of mine – and the more chocolate to coconut oil ratio you have, the less melty they will be. 

printable PDF

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1 cup organic expeller-pressed coconut oil or virgin coconut oil if you like the coconut flavor
12 ounces Ghirardelli’s semisweet chocolate chips
5 drops Citrus Fresh Vitality essential oil blend
4 drops Orange Vitality essential oil

  1. In a glass microwave-safe bowl or a double-boiler, melt the chocolate and coconut oil together. For microwave: heat for 60 seconds, stir, then heat for 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.
  2. Remove from heat/microwave and add Vitality oils (other flavors I love: Peppermint Vitality for a peppermint patty flavor, Lavender Vitality for a tea party, Ginger, Clove and Nutmeg Vitality at Christmas time, Cinnamon Bark Vitality for a spicy burst …).
  3. Pour or spoon into small silicone molds or paper mini-muffin cups. Freeze until solid; store in an airtight container in the freezer. Melt in your mouth GOODNESS!!

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Bergamot Berry Fudge

This is an easy, easy fudge. It’s stupid easy. You can make it on the stove in a heavy pan, in a double boiler or in the microwave – whatever floats your chocolate fountain boat. 

printable PDF

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12 ounces Ghirardelli’s semisweet chocolate chips
9 ounces butterscotch chips
1 14-ounce can organic sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or caramel extract
1/2 cup Ningxia wolfberries, separated so they aren’t in one sticky ball **
5 drops Bergamot Vitality oil

  1. In a heavy pot, a double-boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and condensed milk together. For microwave: heat for 60 seconds, remove and stir, then heat for 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until fully melted and smooth.
  2. Remove from the heat/microwave and stir in extract, wolfberries and Bergamot Vitality oil.
  3. Pour into a 9×9 pan and let cool (it will firm up very quickly!!) Cut into cubes of divine goodness and float away on a blissful cloud of all your happiest dreams come true. I mean literally. Also share some with people you really really like.

**I buy the Ningxia wolfberries from Young Living in one-lb bags. Absolutely delicious, and bursting with antioxidants. Just what we need to make our fudge a lil less, um, guilty.

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Infused Brownies Virtually From Heaven

Use your favorite brownie recipe or mix to infuse the Brownies Of Your Dreams.  Serve with lavender-vanilla ice cream, oh creative one! 

printable PDF

1 Ghirardelli’s triple-fudge brownie mix, another brownie mix you love like this awesome gluten free one for an 8×8 pan of brownies, or a single-pan recipe of these seriously amazing Paleo brownies

Lavender-Lemon Brownies 
5 drops Lemon Vitality essential oil
2 drops Lavender Vitality essential oil

Peppermint-Orange Brownies 
8 drops Orange Vitality essential oil
4 drops Peppermint Vitality essential oil

Frankincense-Bergamot Brownies 
3 drops Frankincense Vitality essential oil
8 drops Bergamot Vitality essential oil

  1. Stir together liquids for the brownies and drop in the Vitality oils of your choice. Add dry ingredients and continue with recipe as directed.
  2. Serve to an adoring, grateful crowd of brownie lovers, or, don’t share. You choose.

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If you have brilliant ways to use the Vitality oils, I am ALWAYS keen to hear them!!!!! Shout out your fabulous ways in the comments below and I will try them out in my own kitchen!!!!!

LOVE to all you beautiful WONDERFUL readers!!!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!!!

Mrs H
follow the Insta for food
follow the Insta for oils

Simple Kombucha Flavors (also the best you’ll ever have)

Dear doubtful,

My kombucha is the best. That is a completely relative and unqualified statement, but this is my blog so I can say what I want on here (sardines are good! I don’t like kidney beans! Some essential oils smell weird!).

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But let’s be real. Everybody says my kombucha is the best, and by everybody, I mean everybody that has tried it. Obviously, we already have a lack of scientific sampling here, but let’s keep going like I know what I’m talking about.

(This is fun!)

My original, unflavored kombucha recipe is a light, fruity, airy, delicious and bubbly drink that has been acclaimed by kombucha enthusiasts, kombucha snobs and kombucha experts. Dave Matthews bought 2 gallons (did you know he has a chef that travels with the band and shops at local farms wherever they go? I mean you gotta love the guy).

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Make my basic kombucha recipe here, or use your own personal best (which is probably insanely awesome, and way good, and suited exactly to your tastes and The Best Kombucha of YOUR blog!).

Let’s talk flavoring.

Everybody always asks me how long I second ferment, when I’m going to get pregnant again and why do I think it’s safe to co-sleep. Let’s focus on that first point today.

I don’t do second ferments.

Heresy!

Burn her!

Make her eat kidney beans!

I have a little secret to let you in on – I am literally quite lazy. You don’t get this far in life without being a little lazy. Ha! I say that jokingly, but let me explain my philosophy: by being kind of lazy, and wanting to find shortcuts and better ways and focusing only on what is really important, I can get a lot more done in a day or in a week than I would otherwise be able to do. (And if making kombucha is not your thing, you might just want to buy kombucha, and that’s fine, too, or maybe you don’t even want to DRINK the stuff. Skip the rest of the blog and go to the crochet section because now you can make that bobble hat finally!!!)

Second ferments take time, and I have to remember to Do Things and move things around. My personal version of flavoring kombucha is basically foolproof.

 

  1. Make plain, original kombucha. Yummy!
  2. Take the stuff I want my kombucha to taste like (strawberries, or cinnamon sticks, or whatever), and put them in a jar.
  3. Pour the plain, original kombucha in to the jar and close the lid.
  4. Place in the fridge and forget about it for three weeks or whatever, and drink it cold.

How easy is that? It’s stupid easy. The reason I leave it for at least three weeks is because I was always flavoring my kombuchas for three or four days, like I saw People Online doing. Then one day I packed a jar with strawberries and filled it with bucha, put it in the fridge and forgot it was there for three weeks. When I pulled it out and strained it, it was LITERALLY THE BEST kombucha I had EVER had in my life and I was Totally Freaking OUT!

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Favorite Flavors

Strawberry Kombucha 

Forget about strawberry soda or strawberry lemonade – this is lightyears better! Fill a half-gallon jar halfway or more with fresh or frozen strawberries, whole or cut, stems or not. The more surface you expose, the more juicy flavor can come out of the berries. If you remove the stems, use them to make scrap vinegar. Cover with kombucha and refrigerate for three weeks; strain out strawberries and serve. Use fermented strawberries for salad, add to smoothies, eat them plain or compost them.

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Strawberry Sunshine 

I could drink enough of this to make me sick, it’s that good. Make Strawberry Kombucha. In one 8-ounce serving, add 1 drop of Vitality Jade Lemon oil*.

Strawberry Lavender Sunshine 

Who needs lavender lemonade when you have this! Make Strawberry Sunshine, and add 1 drop of Vitality Lavender oil*.

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Cream of Vanilla Chai Spice 

Creamy and delicious, the vanilla adds a smooth flavor. Put whole or ground cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, grated nutmeg, black pepper and a vanilla bean in a half-gallon jar or carboy. I use a lot of cinnamon, and a little less of everything else. Full disclosure, I have NEVER measured it. Pour in kombucha and let sit for three weeks or more before straining.

Berry Sunshine Kombucha 

Bursts of summer  … I use bags of frozen berries to make this in the dead of winter. Fill a half-gallon jar halfway with mixed whole or crushed berries, 1/2 cup lemon juice, lemon zest and 1/8 cup pure vanilla extract or the scrapings of a vanilla bean. Fill jar with unflavored kombucha and let steep for three weeks in the refrigerator before straining and serving.

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Ginger and Wild Pear

Pungent – refreshing – and soothing for the belly. A true tonic! I LOVE this one. Dice up wild pears (let’s be real, any pear from the store will do, but we used wild ones hence the name), and fill a half-gallon jar halfway. Add five to ten drops of Vitality Ginger oil*, and fill the jar with plain kombucha. Let steep three weeks before serving!

Cream of Mulled Cider 

This ranks as my fall favorite. I adore. It’s the first flavored kombucha I ever made! Dice apples (various flavors, but really, use what you’ve got. Gala is nice and sweet. Red might have too much tannin), and fill a half-gallon jar halfway. Add cinnamon sticks, orange peel, five drops Vitality Orange oil*, whole or ground star anise, clove, nutmeg and ground allspice. Add one vanilla bean with the seeds scraped out and stirred in, or 1/8 cup vanilla extract or a lesser amount of two-fold extract or a strong store-bought extract.

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Happy Flavoring!

And now you know my secret – I never second ferment my kombucha. Ever! Too lazy!!!!

Cheers!!!!

Mrs H

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*Where to buy Vitality Essential Oils:

I only ingest essential oils from Young Living. As you know, essential oils are a popular food flavoring throughout the food industry, in products ranging from La Croix drinks to medication to candies. Synthetic versions are now being used to reduce the cost of adding flavorings to foods in many cases, but essential oils have been our flavorings for generations!

Vitality Oils are a line of cooking and ingesting oils from Young Living that have been labeled and approved by the FDA as a supplement for internal use. The oils are the same, i.e. the oil in a Vitality bottle of Lavender from Young Living is the same as the oil in a regular bottle of Lavender from Young Living, but the Vitality Label makes them FDA-approved for ingesting! Awesome!

You can buy a few Vitality Oils here by going through as a Retail Customer, or click Wholesale to buy a 50% discounted bundle of oils that includes five of my favorite vitality oils, plus six other oils and a free diffuser!

Favorite Young Living Gifts – guest post by my mom!!!

Thanks to my mom, Leslie, for coming up with this fabulous list of non-toxic Young Living gifts and guest-posting it on my blog today!
If you aren’t a Young Living member yet, you can order a Premium Starter Kit by
clicking the link here and selecting “Member”.
You’ll have access to all these wonderful gifts at the wholesale price (shown on the items below) and my mom will send you a cute welcome gift!!  
If you prefer retail, you can buy all these same wonderful items at the retail cost (24% more)!
Click the link here, and select “Retail”!
 Happy Holidays!!!
 
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Dear Farm and Hearth Readers,
You want to go Christmas shopping, be smart, stick to your December budget – and you still want to get oils to increase the health and vitality in your home … this is how you can do both!
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Ranging from little stocking stuffers to larger gifts, and including some bundles of discounted oils or gifts that you could break up and gift separately – I assure you I will happily take any of these as a gift (hehe!), and anyone in your life would enjoy these!!! I’ve organized them by price, starting with the smallest!
 
Feel free to share your own oily gift ideas in the comments! 

My Favorite Young Living Gifts 

Click the link here to order, or log in to your own account at www.youngliving.com!
Thieves Dental Floss $3.25
The tiniest little way to stuff some Thieves in their stocking! You can buy the three pack ($8.75) if you want to keep some yourself and give some away.
 
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Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier $5.00
Slip this in their stocking, or put it in the pocket of a new backpack as a surprise gift. Buy the three-pack ($13.75) to share more clean holiday spirit. This hand purifier is not only toxin-free, but safe for the thriving gut biome you’ve nurtured with your healthy eating. 
 
Thieves Fruit & Veggie Spray $8.25
New Years Day is when everyone wants to start eating clean and fresh! Tie on a nice curly ribbon and tuck this spray into the stocking to support their next Whole30 or juice cleanse!
 
Chocolessence 3-ounce Bar $8.75
Choose between tangerine-ginger or cinnamon-nutmeg-clove, or buy the 8-pack bundle (keep reading!). Delicious and infused with your favorite essential oils!
Essential Oil Samples $10.00
Did you know you can buy 10-packs of essential oils in little foil sample packets? Slip them into glass bottles, pair them up with a bag of bath salts, and share your love of oils! Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Purification, or Thieves are all available.
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Bar Soap $10.45
Luxury bar soap, completely toxin-free! Share your love of health and well-being with these cute stocking stuffers. Lemon Sandalwood, Melaleuca Geranium, Peppermint Cedarwood, Sacred Mountain, or Lavender Oatmeal. For an increased price ($19.75), you can treat your man to the masculine scent of the Shutran Bar Soap.
 
2016 Lip Balm Set $16.00
Four delicious lip balms, including Vanillamint which is ONLY available in this special holiday set until December 31st! Lavender, grapefruit and cinnamint make up the rest of the pack, and you can gift them together in the cute gift packaging included, or separately.
 
Ningxia Red Glasses $16.00
Put your shot of Ningxia in this elegant stemware, or gift a bottle with a pair of these glasses! Nothing like a fine dinner where you can drink to the health of the party, and actually make them healthier at the same time!
 
Thieves Fruit & Veggie Soak $19.25
Imagine gifting a big fruit basket with a Thieves fruit and veggie soak tucked inside! This is an excellent soak for cleansing fruits and veggies, and remember – you need to clean the organic produce, too! Just a teaspoon is enough for a whole gallon of water.
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Shutran Shave Oil $19.75
Shave oil for men – a close, clean shave with hydrating oils and the Shutran oil blend. Stuff this in his stocking with a pack of fresh new razors!
 
Mirah Shave Oil $22.75
A silky-smooth shave that nourishes and heals, introducing pure essential oils to your skin as a part of your morning routine. Designed for women, this shave oil is aromatic and soft!
 
Shutran Aftershave Lotion $26.00
Just for men – the masculine, woodsy cologne of Shutran is invigorating and uplifting, and keeps his routine toxin-free and healthy.
 
Thieves AromaBright Toothpaste 5-pack $28.00
A five-pack of travel-size toothpastes makes an inexpensive and easy way to fill stockings with cheer since everyone is gnawing on candy canes and presumably rotting their teeth out! Gift them with some toothbrushes or a pack of floss to round out the full package.
 
Thieves Mints Three-Pack $34.50
Are they candy, or are they immune-supporting breath mints? Does it really matter? They are delicious! You can buy as a single tin ($12.75 each) or as a three-pack. Stuff in stockings or hang on the tree as a tasty surprise!
 
Ningxia Zyng 12-pack $34.75
Ice-cold and carbonated, perfect stocking stuffers for everyone who needs a shot of energy and delicious flavor. If you’re opening the pack to share, you might as well take one (or two) for yourself, heh, heh.
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KidScents Bath Time Set $37.50
For the favorite kids or grandkids in your life (heh, heh). Proven favorites of my own grandkids (!), the shampoo and bath gel comes with a cute little bath scrubbie. Include a set of fun bath toys from any store, and you’ve got a bundle!
 
Ningxia Nitro 15-pack $38.75 (FREE with 250PV promos!!)
The Ningxia Nitros are fabulous little energy shots for any time of day! Surviving the Christmas shopping, or worse yet the Christmas wrapping (!!!), and finding those scissors for the eighieth time – I’m not sure if you should gift these or keep them for yourself?!
 
L’Briante Lip Gloss and Scent $39.75
This is the one every woman wants! There are a variety of glosses and essential oil duos to choose from in this brilliant pairing of lip gloss with an oil, all in one handy, elegant stick. The RED lip gloss comes with Amoresscence – an exotic, romantic aroma that you can ONLY get with this L’Briante Lip Gloss or by attending Beauty School with Young Living!!
 
Bon Voyage Travel Pack $55.00
A darling bundle of ten travel-size items from the Young Living personal care products collection! Gift the whole package in the included travel bag, or use them as cute little stocking stuffers.
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KidScents Oils Mini Set $55.25
Owie, SniffleEase, and TummyGize – a health-supporting trio for the kids to help keep them going all year long. Ready to roll right on, these go in mom’s purse or the kid’s backpack and the day is ready!
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Chocolessence Combo Pack $66.50
This combo pack gives you a little discount on buying them individually. Eight of the 3-ounce bars of Equadorian chocolate – four of each flavor. These make an excellent healthful sweet to gift, or to give with a sweet Christmas card.
 
EndoShield $79.75
Another exellent bundle that can be given as a set or gifted separately, EndoShield contains a collection of oils and a supplement geared towards protecting your body from premature aging and endocrine issues. Longevity softgels, Melrose 15mL, Citrus Fresh 15mL, and EndoFlex 15mL create a powerful, supercharged physical barrier of protection.
 
Ningxia Red Holiday Set $85.00
What could you bring a hostess instead of a bottle of wine? Obviously – Ningxia Red! The Holiday Set comes with two bottles, five greeting cards and a $5 donation to the Young Living Foundation. (Alternatively – buy the two-pack of Ningxia Red for $71.00)
 
QuadShield $100.00
This is the gift you’ll want to keep (!) or maybe gift part of, and keep part of!? All of these make a fabulous set to help shield yourself from all the wintery bugs. Super C, Melrose 15mL, Longevity Softgels and Thyromin give you a total health package.
 
2016 Essential Oil Culinary Collection $110.25
10 5-mL bottles of Vitality Oils! The bundle price saves you 10% off the price of buying the oils individually. Gift them all to one lucky recipient, or break them up and gift them with a wooden spoon or a glass drinking bottle!
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Feelings Kit $170.75
You’ve heard of it, but it has been out of stock for SO LONG – now it is BACK for an unknown length of time!! The Feelings Kit is all about the emotional base of the oils – reaching deep into the limbic system and cleansing emotions and old habits and patterns. Gift the whole set, or separate the oils and gift them individually. Harmony, Forgiveness, Inner Child, Present Time, Release and Valor II make up this outstanding collection.
 
AnimalScents
Don’t forget the furred family members! A whole line of essential oil blends geared towards your pets, as well as an animal ointment, dental chews and and shampoo support their healthy pet lifestyle, too.
To order any of these gifts, log in to your account at www.youngliving.com or click here for a first-time order. Try ordering them on Essential Rewards if you haven’t use that yet, or place a Quick Order! If you have any questions about how to order, I will be happy to chat with you over e-mail! wheelsturn (a) gmail (dot) com
Have fun and happy gifting!
Leslie

Ginger Ice Cubes & Good Girl Moonshine Hack

Dear summer,

Visiting the Domestic Endeavors farm is always an exploration in creativity and analysis. Miz Carmen is one of the most creative and innovative minds I know and it is pure pleasure to visit her, any time of year. At our last canning soiree, it was a pleasantly baking 90ish degrees (anything is pleasant after the saturating humidity and soul-sucking heat of 110 in Virginia Beach, right?), and she kept us all hydrated with a variety of homemade drinks, including her custom tweak of a Trim Healthy Mama favorite, the Good Girl Moonshine.

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One of the greatest features in this icy drink is the ginger ice cubes, which can be used in any of a hundred thousand of your own beverages – adding zip and raw goodness to lemonade, apple cider tonics, Ningxia Red, sparkling water or whatever else your dehydrated body yearns for.

Ginger Ice Cubes

Printable Recipe
How potent should they be? That’s up to you. Miz Carmen states that she uses five ounces of peeled root per Vitamix-load of water. Stronger ice cube flavor means saving more room in your freezer, because you can use just one, instead of two – so mess with the numbers and find your happy place! (Comment below if you have a dream measurement
!)

Organic ginger root, peeled with a spoon
Filtered or clean water
Nut milk bag (I like this one) or linen cloth
Ice cube trays
Vitamix or blender

Throw ginger in a Vitamix or blender and fill to manufacturer’s recommended volume (so, do not OVER fill) with filtered water. Blend and increase speed to HIGH for about a minute, to hyper-rupture the cells of the ginger for maximum flavor and nutrient release.

Strain through a linen cloth or mesh nut-milk bag, squeezing the root to get all that goodness.

Pour liquid into ice cube trays and freeze until solid; store in the freezer, obviously. Use in the following recipe.

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Peeling ginger with a spoon is a handy trick I learned in the restaurant kitchens of Virginia Beach!

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How much water you use – it is entirely up to you.

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Blend on HIGH. The Vitamix has the capability to hyper-rupture plant cells, like the advanced cold-press systems used for making juice today. Read more about ways to use the Vitamix on my popular blog post, 70 Awesome Things to do With Your Vitamix!

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And enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!

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Domestic Endeavors Makes Good Girl Moonshine

Printable Recipe
The original recipe comes from the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook – you can read more about their food philosophy in the Trim Healthy Mama Plan.  They call this an all-day sipper – a metabolism booster that doesn’t spike insulin or provide significant fuel that could throw your fuel/burn plan. 

1/2 Tablespoon THM Gentle Sweet or Super Sweet (depending on your sweet tooth)
1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) to 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar or make your own
2 teaspoons caramel extract (Miz Carmen used this one, so I got some on Amazon)
1 – 2 ginger ice cubes (see recipe above)
Handful of regular ice cubes
12 ounces filtered water or sparkling water (or one can of La Croix)

Load a quart jar with ice cubes and the ginger cubes. Add other ingredients and stir briskly to combine. Sip all day!

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Salute to staying cool and hydrated even on the hottest days!!! You are my sunshine!!!!!!

 

Cut the Crap – alternative energy that’s healthy and stuff

Dear Groggy,

We all know those energy drinks are so horrid for you. And beautiful, lovely coffee is a toxin that, as fragrant and heavenly as it is, brings our frequency down, raises our acidity and makes our heart race.

What are some other alternative sources of energy?

To start with, getting sleep on track is the most important factor. According to neurologists, if you wake up to an alarm – you’re sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation is the start of a slippery slope of brain damage. Scary, right? I’ll share more about sleep in a follow-up post (link will be added here when it is live).

So here we are, and we need energy. What are some alternative sources?

Choffy: Brewed Chocolate

Choffy is super delicious. It’s crushed cacao beans that you can brew in a French press just like coffee – it’s high in iron, has the delicious aroma of chocolate, and packs a punch of clean energy that doesn’t have a caffeine crash. It is non-addicting, but I have to say I love it so much that maybe I got addicted after all? Pictured here: my Paleo bulletproof Choffy latte (vegan option), recipe follows!

I think you have to purchase through a distributor, but I get a steady supply from my aunt who has a friend who sells it, so I’ve never actually purchased it myself (lucky, right?!). If I ever find out where she gets it from, I’ll add the link here!

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Bulletproof Choffy – Paleo, Vegan
Printable PDF Recipe

Brew 8 ounces Choffy – I love the dark chocolate version.

Heat 4 – 8 ounces almond milk (the frothiest) or coconut milk while Choffy is brewing.

Pour hot milk, hot Choffy, and a tablespooon of grassfed butter, ghee or coconut oil in a blender; hit on high for a few second or until frothy!

Serve immediately. Yum!!!! 

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Ningxia Red, Ningxia Nitro, and Ningxia Zyng 

Essential oils are loaded with pure energy that boost your body’s natural ability to burn, fuel and clean up any systems that are clogged with synthetic chemicals or addictive substances. You can order Ningxia products by going here.

Ningxia Red is loaded with powerful plant purees and essential oils all known for feeding our body and cleaning out the “rust” we build up over time. Cleaning up your own body is one way to start to burn cleaner, more efficiently and feel better all at the same time!

Ningxia Nitro is a tiny energy shot that has all the same energy plus a boost from black pepper and green tea. Ningxia Zyng is a canned beverage that is fizzy and loaded with plant power!

My favorite Ningxia Mocktail recipe follows!

NINGXIA RED v1.1

Ningxia Red Mocktail
Printable PDF Recipe

16 ounces carbonated water (La Croix, Soda Stream, Pellegrino, mineral water)
2 ounces Ningxia Red
4 drops Orange Vitality Essential Oil
1 tablespoon dried Ningxia wolfberries

Combine all four ingredients in a glass jar or bottle. Swirl to blend and serve in a wine glass!

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ningxia red

Diffusing 

You can apply oils to your body – blends such as En-R-Gee, Motivation and Citrus Fresh are designed to help boost your energy capacity and get more done!

You can also diffuse them – citrus oils are great for boosting energy, and frankincense makes a great pair with any citrus.

Do you have a favorite diffuser blend for increasing energy?

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Love and energy to ALL!

Andrea