Five Refreshing Summer Popsicles

Dear sweaty,

It’s always popsicle season in our house! It’s one of the easiest, most fun ways to get extra nutrition into the kids!

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Clockwise from top: Lavender-Blueberry Ice Cream Pops, Lavender Lemonade and Iced Slique Arnold Palmers, Probiotic Berry Blast, Summer Sunshine Ice Pops, Island Citrus Cream Pops

Buying popsicles is almost impossible because everything is loaded with corn syrup, food dyes, artificial flavors and more or else is prohibitively expensive; but homemade is economical, produces no extra waste and these are packed with goodness!

These are a few recipes we made this summer that the kids are loving.

Note: How many popsicles each recipe makes depends on the size of your popsicle molds.

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Lavender Blueberry Ice Cream Pops

Lavender-Blueberry Ice Cream Pops (vegan)

The original recipe for this came from Essential Oils, the Young Living magazine, so I can’t take credit for this one! Either served as a smoothie, churned into ice cream or frozen in pops, it’s delicious! Original recipe here

2 cups frozen blueberries
1 cup full-fat coconut cream
4 teaspoons Blue Agave
4 drops Lavender Vitality™ essential oil
Optional: I added 4 drops Orange Vitality essential oil
Up to ⅓ cup coconut water

Blend ingredients, adding coconut water as needed. Pour into molds; add additional frozen blueberries to the top before inserting sticks, if desired! Freeze until solid.

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Lavender Lemonade and Iced Slique Arnold Palmers

Lavender Lemonade and Iced Slique Arnold Palmers (vegan)

A classic “Arnie Palmie” is layered lemonade and sweet iced tea with milk. What better fresh take on this, than layering our favorite lavender lemonade, and lightly sweetened iced Slique tea? Both of these beverages can stand alone as a cold drink or as individual popsicles, and layered they make a delightful alternating tart and sweet treat!

Lavender Lemonade

2 cups warm or hot water
1/4 cup lemon juice or to taste (do not use concentrate)
A few tablespoons Young Living Blue Agave (or raw honey), to taste
1 – 2 drops Lavender Vitality essential oil, or to taste
Optional: 1 – 4 drops Lemon Vitality Oil, Lime Vitality Oil, Citrus Fresh Vitality oil or Jade Lemon Vitality oil, to taste

Pour all ingredients into a quart mason jar or blender; shake vigorously to combine. If you used hot water, just stir. Set aside in fridge to chill.

Milky Iced Slique Tea

Filtered water
1 Slique tea bag
Unsweetened almond milk, vanilla almond milk or another nondairy milk or creamer
Optional: 3 drops Jade Lemon Vitality Oil
Optional: 1 teaspoon Young Living Blue Agave

If using Jade Lemon, drop it on the Slique Tea bag and place it in a quart main jar (I remove the string, too).

Heat 1 cup of water to almost boiling. Pour into the prepared quart mason. Let steep for about ten or fifteen minutes; leaving the tea bag in the jar, add another cup of cold water and a lid and set aside in the fridge until chilled.

Add 1/3 or more of your milk of choice to the chilled tea – if you stop right here you have my favorite cold energy drink!

Making the popsicles

Spoon or pour lemonade into the first quarter of the popsicle molds and set aside in the freezer until solid, typically two hours. Add iced tea to the next quarter so they are halfway filled, and freeze again; continue freezing and layering until full.

Probiotic Berry Blast - creamy popsicles made with kefir

Probiotic Berry Blast – creamy popsicles made with kefir

Probiotic Berry Blast

Popsicles and smoothies are one of the easiest ways to slip probiotics into the kids’ meals, and I make sure they eat at least one probiotic food and take one MightyPro every day – our gut health holds the key to health in all other systems of our body, so it’s an important place to put our focus!

2 cups kefir
2 cups frozen mixed berries
10 drops orange

Blend and pour into molds. Pack extra frozen berries into the top if desired before inserting sticks! Freeze until solid.

Summer Sunshine Ice Pops (vegan) made with essential oils

Summer Sunshine Ice Pops (vegan)

Summer Sunshine Ice Pops (vegan)

Simple and clean, I have to say this is one of my favorites ways to get Ningxia in! This is another one of our daily supplements and this ice popsicle tastes just like a burst of summer sunshine! 🌞

1/2 cup Ningxia Red
1 cup cold water
10 drops orange vitality essential oil
10 drops lemon vitality OR jade lemon vitality essential oil
Optional: 1 teaspoon maple syrup or Young Living Blue Agave
Optional: frozen berries or Dried Ningxia Wolfberries

Blend all ingredients together except berries, or shake vigorously in a mason jar. Pour into molds and drop in frozen or fried berries before inserting sticks. Freeze until solid.

Island Citrus Cream Pops (vegan), coconut, mango, pineapple and citrus essential oils

Island Citrus Cream Pops (vegan)

Island Citrus Cream Pops (vegan)

This creamy popsicle is a great way to float to the islands! A non-vegan alternative is to add a few tablespoons of kefir, which I do for an added dose of probiotics.

2 cups frozen pineapple
1 cup frozen mango
The separated cream from 1 can of coconut milk (reserve the liquid for using in another smoothie or in case your blender needs added liquid for this one!)
10 drops any citrus vitality oil – Jade Lemon Vitality or Citrus Fresh Vitality is my favorite!

Blend all ingredients, adding some reserved liquid if needed. It does not need to be perfectly smooth! Scoop into molds and freeze until solid.

Enjoy!!!!!

Popsicle Molds

First choice: these are stainless steel (no plastic) and the frame is unpainted so less likely to crack.

Stainless Steel Popsicle Molds

Second choice: I love the molds themselves, but the frame is painted and it has split and cracked over time. It doesn’t affect the actual MAKING of the popsicles but it just looks unattractive. I do love that they are stainless steel!

Stainless Steel Rocket Popsicle Molds

If you want to crank out a TON of popsicles at a time, this mold is the one for you. There are several differen shape options and “B” is my favorite with the classic creamsicle look; I really, really ridiculously want this one day haha!

20 Piece Stainless Steel Mold

This is the mold used for the Probiotic Berry Blast pop – they are SUPER easy to pop out of the molds with a splash of hot water (even without it). They are made from plastic, though.

Zoku Classic Pop Molds

Silicone molds are really easy to push popsicles out of without warm water. This larger mold is similar to the 4-pop mold I used for the Island Citrus Pops and the Lavender Blueberry pops, which was a limited edition mold from Young Living.

Silicone 10-Mold Popsicle

You can also make molds easily and cheaply by using small cups or 8 ounce jam jars, and putting a piece of foil over the top to hold the popsicle stick or spoon in place for the  handle!

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Einkorn Breakfast Muffins

Forget every recipe you’ve ever seen or wanted to make. THESE are literally the best thing ever!! Perfect for Easter morning or taking on the road for fast food on the go!!!

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We made them last night for dinner (If you follow me on Instagram, you can saw my messy kitchen in my Stories haha), and this morning the kids staggered out of bed first thing asking for them.

I can already tell this is going to be our new family classic and made for all our special breakfasts, and of course, Camille has already dropped hers on the floor as I type.

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Original recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens … This is our WAPF version 🙌

Einkorn Breakfast Muffins

Makes 12

6 pieces Applegte uncured bacon, cut in half
5 organic free-range eggs
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp filtered water
1 cup Young Living einkorn flour
1/2 cup organic yellow or white cornmeal
1 tbsp real maple syrup or raw honey
2-1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1 cup almond milk or another milk (linked to our fave commercial brand)
1/4 cup leftover bacon grease or Kerrygold butter
Optional: 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, or 6 thick slices Tillamook cheddar
Optional: additional maple syrup to serve

Preheat oven to 400. Get out a 12-cup muffin tin but do not grease yet.

Cook the bacon in a rimmed skillet and set aside. Reserve bacon fat. Return 2 tsp fat to the skillet.

Beat 3 eggs, 2 tbsp water, salt and pepper and pour into skillet. Cook on low heat without stirring until they begin to set on bottom and sides. Fold over and chop loosely to let runny portion cook until set but moist, then set aside in a bowl.

Brush twelve muffin cups with leftover bacon grease and set aside.

In a medium bowl (what does a “medium” bowl even mean? But you know what I mean), stir together einkorn flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, whip together remaining eggs, milk, bacon grease or butter and maple syrup or honey.

Stir milk mixture into flour mixture and fold in eggs, and shredded cheese if using. Fill 12 muffin cups (they will be full!!).

Top with bacon pieces. If you’re using sliced cheese, shove a quarter of a slice into each muffin.

Bake 15 – 17 minutes at 400°F. Serve hot with additional maple syrup, honey or butter if desired.

BEST EVER!

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Favorite Containers and Ingredients

This is a compilation of some of my favorite containers, ingredients, books, tools and resources for homemade toxin-free products

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Photo by Urban Utopia Photography. Used with permission.

Start by getting your Premium Starter Kit of oils here!

Do you know what Essential Rewards is? Read more about the Premium Starter Kit here.

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Photo by Urban Utopia Photography. Used with permission.

Containers

Colorful Rollers 24-pack of colorful roll-on bottles | I LOVE this pack for making sets of rollers for gifts, or to have rollers on hand as a new member gift or giveaway! It’s an amazing price and comes with so much!

Blue Rollers Glass Roll On Bottles, FROSTED Cobalt Blue-Set of 12  |  Some oils are better kept in the dark, or if you are planning to keep the roller for quite a long time this is also recommended (some rollers I use up pretty quickly!).

Amber Rollers 24-pack of amber rollers with metal top | ALWAYS use metal-top rollers! Pure quality essential oils will break down plastic roller balls.

Mini Sprayers 12 New, High Quality, 1 oz Amber Glass Bottles, with Black Fine Mist Sprayer  |  Awesome little sprayers! Great size for making skin sprays, facial toner, etc.

Oil Samplers 2 ml (5/8 dram) Amber Glass Essential Oil Bottle with Orifice Reducer and cap- 12 pack  |  Use these teeny, weeny containers for bringing small amounts of neat oils with you, or for handing out samples of oils to people in need of oily love!

Large Sprayer Two 16-oz amber glass sprayers |  A nice, big bottle – my favorite spray bottle for putting Thieves Household Cleaner to work. We have two in the kitchen and one in each bathroom. I have tried a few different sprayers and the pump on this one works the best.

Lip Balm Tubes Lip Balm Empty Container Tubes 3/16 Oz (5.5ml), Pack of 12; Natural (translucent) color  |  Making lip balm and tinted lip balm at home is way too much fun!

Glass Lotion Containers Greenwood Products Clear Glass 2oz Straight Sided Jar, with White Polypropylene PTFE Lined Cap (Case of 24)  |  I love these for putting homemade creams in.

Mini Droppers Bottles and droppers, cobalt blue  | Use for tinctures or tonics, or to add carrier oils to capsules.

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Photo by Urban Utopia Photography. Used with permission.

Gadgets & Tools

Mini Funnels RSVP Endurance 18/8 Stainless Steel Mini Funnel, Set of 3  |  I use these for filling various small containers – I mean some of these containers have TINY openings!!

Honey Dipper Jarware Honey Dipper for Regular Mouth Mason Jars | I love this dipper for our raw honey. It makes an excellent gift along with a mason jar and a bottle of Thieves Vitality – for Thieves Bombs! (A few drops of honey + a drop of Thieves Vitality oil in the mouth – every day!)

Carrying Case Essential Oil Carrying case for 10 rollers | This is an awesome gift for yourself OR a beloved oily friend! It includes 10 roller bottles and a funnel and dropper as well! There are three color options for the carrying case.

Foil Pouch Sealable Foil Pouch, pack of 200 | An easy way to share samples of your favorite creams, lotions or oils, or make carry-along sizes for yourself when traveling.

Portable Charger Anker Power Core charger with 3 USB ports and double charging port | My FAAVORITE portable charger, awesome for convention, traveling, sitting on the couch nursing!

Molds Gummy Bear Candy Molds & Dropper | The cutest! Awesome price. And includes the dropper for easy filling!

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Photo by Urban Utopia Photography. Used with permission.

 

 

Books and Labels

Gentle Babies Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infants and Young Children  |  An absolutely necessary resource for pregnant and post-partum women and children, filled with recipes and ideas on how to use the oils before, during and after birth, and for young children.

Essential Oils Pocket Reference  |  A must-have guide that I would recommend getting as soon as you start investing in essential oils. It’s one thing to have them, and another thing to know how and when to use them – safely! This book provides scientific background, contraindications, application advice and more.

Essential Oil Truth | Non-brand-specific book that provides a detailed education in easy-to-read lessons on the production and usage of oils.

Essentially Driven | Young Living handbook – this has everything you need to know to maximize your Young Living membership.

French Aromatherapy: Essential Oil Usage & Recipes | Excellent recipes for making items at home, as well as solid information on what the oils are for and why.

Essential Oil Make & Takes: 60 DIY Recipes | Just what the title says! An awesome and fun book for DIY lovers.

Lucy Libido Says … There’s an oil for THAT! | SERIOUSLY fun adventurous book for oils all about THAT! Plenty of recipes in the back. I LOVE this book!

Lucy Libido’s Class Book | Very fun book that walks you through a Lucy Class all about hormones and oils!

Avery High Visibility 2 1/2 Inch Diameter White Labels 300 Pack (5294)  |  These labels are the perfect size for topping a wide-mouth mason jar (we use them for canning, too!), or for labeling other containers.

Avery Easy Peel Permanent Print-To-The-Edge Round Labels, Laser/InkJet, 2-Inch, Glossy White, Pack of 120 (22807)  |  These labels are suited for regular-mouth (narrow) canning jars and smaller containers.

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Photo by Urban Utopia Photography. Used with permission.

Carrier Oils and Ingredients

Expeller-Pressed Organic Coconut Oil  |  Odorless and flavorless, this is a completely neutral oil that I use in my lotions, whips and salves. It stays in a solid state unless warmed, and is edible and thoroughly nutritious! I also use it for everything else in my kitchen!

Earth’s Essentials 100% Pure Organic Sweet Almond Oil-16 Oz. Bottle  |  Sweet almond oil is one of the primary ingredients in many base lotions, and since it is liquid it can be used to put oils in roller bottles, too.

Zinc Oxide Powder – 1 lb. in Quality Heat Sealed Resealable Zip Lock Pouch  |  Zinc oxide powder of the non-nano variety (cannot be absorbed into skin), is a must for outdoor skin creams!  The more you add, the higher the SPF rating – but if you add too much, you’ll end up looking quite ghostly white!

Fractionated Coconut Oil Pure Organic Raw by Dr.Adorable 12oz pack of 2  |  This is THE most popular carrier oil for essential oilers. I love the price on this set.

Fractionated Coconut Oil + Pump | I love that this organic oil includes a pump for the bottle.

Magnesium Bath Flakes | For making homemade bath blends and soaks. A great fitness and detoxing aid.

Magnesium Oil | Incredible for relaxation. Add it to night time rollers or sleepy cream.

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Photo by Urban Utopia Photography. Used with permission.

 

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

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!