Natural Congestion Relief

Natural Congestion Relief

You may remember that I was battling the onset of a little bug a few weeks ago. As soon as I felt it coming on, I boosted my immune system with every natural method I could think of. I popped Echinacea. I practically ate my weight in fruits, veggies, garlic, ginger and lemon. I drank so much water that I nearly lived on the toilet and between bathroom breaks, I rested. Thanks to this, I felt a lot better in just 24 hours. My congestion didn’t completely ease up, however. My nose was still slightly clogged despite all of my immunity boosting efforts. I suppose I was too busy running around to let my body fully heal. Damn! I hoped that maybe it would just take care of itself with time. Nope. Stubborn congestion held strong for almost a week. Two nights ago, after a day of blowing my nose so much that I started to resemble that sweet little red nosed reindeer, I realized the mildly annoying congestion had turned on me. I had all the symptoms of a sinus infection complete with sinus headache.

I’d had enough. You may have won this round you pesky little bug but now, you’ve pissed me off. With the help of my endlessly knowledgeable hubby, I pulled out the big guns. After just one night of employing these methods, my sinus infection was completely gone. I can breathe again! Ah the beautiful smell of…well… anything really! It’s incredible how much we take our senses for granted. Not this girl. Not today. I’m going outside and smelling those roses and the dewy morning air, even the trash cans in the backyard. I’m so happy to be able to breathe clearly, I’ll huff those babies!

Wanna know I killed this sucker? No antibiotics, just handy dandy, tried and true home remedies. Here are my top 5 favorite natural ways to relieve nasty congestion:

Exercise. It doesn’t have to be strenuous or prolonged. Honestly depending on how sick you are in the first place, resting may be far better for your body then exercise. However, I was feeling strong so I did about 10 minutes of aerobic exercise and felt my congestion ease up immediately. Do some jumping jacks, run in place, do a few push ups or yoga poses. The idea here is to get the blood pumping. The increase in circulation can clear the blockage and allow for a much-needed deep breath.

Facial massage. Facial massage combines gentle pressure and warmth from the hands to break up the mucous that backs up in the sinus cavities. Your natural drainage mechanism is stimulated to clear the passageways. Here is a helpful video tutorial. You can do this on yourself or for a more relaxing experience ask a loved one to do it for you.

Neti pot rinse with colloidal silver and distilled water. Colloidal silver is in my opinion, a miracle element. It ruptures the cellular wall of bacteria and viruses and kills on contact. Here is a video that I found interesting (because I am a complete and utter nerd) on how silver kills bacteria. It is important to remember that silver is still a metal and high levels of it can be hazardous. Be cautious when using this method. You want to make sure that you are purchasing high quality silver from a reputable source, like this one and that you use the appropriate amount.IMG_4153.JPG

How to do it: 

  • Prepare your neti pot with 1/4 cup of warm distilled or filtered water and add a pinch of salt.
  • With a dropper, apply 15-30 drops of colloidal silver to the pot.
  • Make sure salt is completely dissolved, then administer half the solution through one nostril with your head tilted over a sink.
  • Stay in this position for a few minutes to allow the silver to kill the bacteria, then tilt your head back upright and allow the solution to drip back out your nostril.
  • Repeat this procedure on your other nostril. If congestion is still present after this process, you can repeat it up to 3 times a day until symptoms are gone.

*If you don’t have a neti pot, you can simply use a syringe to administer the silver solution. Fill a bowl with 1/4 cup of warm distilled water and add a pinch of salt. Then add 15-30 drops (or about 1 syringe full) of colloidal silver. Use syringe to suck up the solution and then push solution up nostril following the above instructions.

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Ionizing humidifier filled with silver, running while you sleep. As I’m sure you know, a humidifier increases the humidity of the room which can help you breathe better. Filling a humidifier with silver and breathing in the silver-laden mist while you are congested will increase this benefit. By doing this, I enjoyed dramatic relief of my congestion the very next morning. A bonus to this method, by using colloidal silver in a vaporizer or humidifier, the mist will spread throughout the room on the ambient air and help kill germs and viruses on contact surfaces, thus helping prevent other family members from picking up the infection.

How to do it:

  • Fill humidifier or vaporizer with 1.5 gallons of distilled or filtered water and 3 oz of colloidal silver
  • Run humidifier on low-medium while you sleepIMG_4149.JPG

3-5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in your hot shower. Eucalyptus oil is a natural decongestant. Mixing this oil with the steam of your hot shower will naturally relieve your blocked nasal passage ways. The hot shower mimics a humidifier if you don’t own one. This was the most enjoyable way I relieved my congestion. I was immediately able to breathe through my nose again and when I closed my eyes, I felt like I was in some tropical rainforest. 😉

How to do it:

  • While you are showering, simply drop a few drops of eucalyptus oil into your steamy shower and breathe in the decongesting vapors.IMG_4150.JPG

These are things that worked for me. I’m not a doctor so please don’t take any of this information as medical advice. Just use common sense, listen to your body and know that Mother Earth is a treasure trove of healing possibilities. If you are very ill and natural methods aren’t helping you, go see your doctor. ❤

Friendsgiving!

Friendsgiving!

Hello friends! Oh… hello to you too Monday morning. In honor of the coming holiday and all of the yumminess that comes along with it, I’m feeling a lot more forgiving of your presence here today. This week, Monday means that only 3 more days separate me from visiting my family in Southern California and chowing down on some of my favorite food. I’ll be bringing some gluten free renditions of traditional holiday goodies that I can’t wait to share with you! It makes Thanksgiving so much more enjoyable when I have biscuits, stuffing and pie on my plate. What is Thanksgiving dinner without these things really? A hollow shell of the holiday feasts that I remember, that’s for sure. Good thing I won’t ever have to experience that. My recipes are healthier versions of some classics that don’t sacrifice any of the classic flavor. I got to try a few out on my friends this weekend and they, thankfully, were eagerly gobbled up.

Saturday and Sunday were a flurry of driving, eating, connecting and more driving. If I haven’t mentioned it before, half of my heart lives in Mendocino, a gorgeous little coastal town, nestled in the redwoods of Northern California. We were first acquainted about 11 years ago and after the initial shock of being so far off of the grid (what do you mean there is only one stop light and no shopping malls?) I fell in love fast and hard and haven’t strayed too far away since. Many of my dearest friends call Mendocino home so I make the 3 hour drive about once a month.

This weekend was our first annual, eagerly awaited Friendsgiving dinner. So.much.fun. Good wine, laughing, cute babies frolicking around together, buns in the oven. There was lots to celebrate and celebrate we did. Every delicious thing you could think of graced that table. A beautiful glazed ham, candied yams, a bright fresh kale salad with pomegranate seeds and golden raisins, homemade artichoke dip with fresh spinach and organic local cheeses… I stuffed myself and then went back for more. I haven’t eaten that much in years. I’m feeling properly primed for Thursday. 😉 Also on the menu was my gluten free cornbread stuffing bites and raw pumpkin cheesecake. I was so busy loving up my friends and stuffing my face with my stuffing that I completely forgot to snap a picture of either dish. 😦 It’s a good thing that I plan on making both again for one of the myriad of holiday gatherings that I will attend in the next 6 weeks. I promise to share my recipes soon. In the meantime, please enjoy some photos of my family and I being fabulous.
Xoxoxoxox

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Gluten Free Banana Muffins

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

Bananas are always in my house. They are nutritious, easy to grab for a filling snack and up until a few days ago, one of my girl’s favorite fruits. Oh toddlers, such fickle tastes. Now she has decided she wants nothing to do with them. This leaves me with too many bananas and not enough mouths to eat them. What to do with over ripe bananas? Muffins. Naturally.

I’ve been baking so much this Fall that dare I say, I’m becoming quite good at it. I haven’t been following recipes for the first time… ever. I’ve just been understanding my ingredients and playing. It feels nice to appreciate and acknowledge my growing skill in the kitchen. I’m usually my harshest critic. I must be growing up. 🙂

Preparing wholesome food for my family has been fulfilling me more than I anticipated. I’m having loads of fun. Being able to fill the bellies of the people you love while keeping them healthy is extremely satisfying. These banana muffins are equally satisfying. My daughter calls them cake. Sure babe, enjoy your buckwheat banana cake for breakfast. I’ll happily keep this healthy little secret to myself. 😉

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups overripe bananas (equivalent of about 3 large bananas)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup Gluten free all purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill which is a mixture of garbanzo, white sorghum, fava bean and tapioca flours.)
  • 1/4 cup mesquite flour
  • 1/2 cup ghee (butter will work too, or use a full 1 cup coconut oil to substitute)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Process:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mash up bananas in a large bowl
  3. Melt coconut oil and ghee together in a double boiler
  4. Add melted oil, eggs, honey and vanilla to bananas
  5. Mix all wet ingredients until well combined
  6. Sift all dry ingredients together, reserving cacao nibs, until they are well combined
  7. Pour dry ingredients into bowl with wet ingredients and mix until smooth
  8. Add cacao nibs and gently mix together
  9. Place muffin liners into muffin pan and pour batter into each one, filling to the top
  10. Bake for 15 minutes
  11. Once cooled, let your mouth delight in your accomplishments. ❤

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It’s raining today. From my warm couch, I happily watch the fat drops replenish our thirsty planet as I enjoy my muffin with a hot cup of tea. They are sweet but not overly so, just like I like them. The buckwheat adds a nice boost of fiber and helps you stay satiated longer. The cacao nibs add a perfect crunch and slight bitterness that nicely rounds out the sweet banana flavor. My family loves them. I hope you love them too.

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Ah contentment. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be right now. Days spent indoors, all cozy and cuddly with fresh home baked goodies. Isn’t Fall just the best?

Ease teething pain naturally

Ease teething pain naturally

Hell hath no fury like an 18 month old cutting 4 molars at once. These last few months, I’ve traded in sleep for coffee. Good thing I like coffee. Lack of sleep = lack of coherence. If you find this post disjointed, now you know why. Sleep is really good for brains. I’ll bet in the case of a zombie apocalypse my pickled cerebrum would be in no immediate danger.

Procreating. What a trip. Being a mother has elicited emotions in me that I simply didn’t know existed. Did you know it was possible to feel seething anger and total loving sympathy for someone at the very same instant? For while my sweet baby is in agonizing pain that I very much sympathize with, I am congruently dealing with an unreasonable, sleepless, manic breastfeeding monster, sporting newly sprouted teeth to bite me with. And she does bite.

But really how can you stay annoyed with this little face… You can’t. You just can’t.

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This snarly little face is so precious to me. I wasn’t prepared for how much I would adore my child. I mean, I figured I’d love my baby but until I actually made her and watched her grow up and morph into this awesome little person who says I love you and counts to three… well words are empty and completely insufficient in expressing it. My heart explodes every day and every day I put the pieces back together only to have it break open again. Loving someone like this is exhausting… especially when you hate them sometimes. But you could never hate her, I mean… LOOK at her.

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Anyway, back on course brain! Her teeth… and her poor swollen little gums… and my pickled brain. I’ll do nearly anything to help soothe her pain and get my family some sleep. Because I am the tree hugging hippie that I am, I prefer to find a natural alternative to benzocaine. In my sleepless desperation, I’ve been trying all the remedies out there. Here are the three that have helped:

Barley water: Barley has natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and is super easy to make. Soak 1 cup of barley overnight and then cook barley with 2 1/3 cups of water for about 15 minutes. Drain excess cooking water and save. Once it has cooled you can either just rub some on inflamed gums or much more fun, use it to make teething popsicles! Here is a rad little recipe if you’re interested.

Chamomile oil: Also naturally antiseptic and anti-inflammatory as well as very soothing. We’ve rubbed some of this oil on her gums in the middle of the night and after hours of being up she is finally able to conk out.

German chamomile hydrosol:  A hydrosol is essentially flower water, or the stream distillate of the plant matter. Hydrosols are like essential oils but are far less concentrated, therefore they can be used undiluted on skin. I’ve used this hydrosol on her diaper rash and on her gums and have noticed a instant calming effect, both in her disposition and topically.

Our earth provides. It’s incredible how healing plants can be. I’m hoping these methods can bring your baby some relief and you even a few hours of sleep. Speaking of, my brain is officially shutting down. Over and out.

Vegan Kabocha Milkshake

Vegan Kabocha Milkshake

IMG_3886.JPGKabocha. What in the world is it and how in the world do you pronounce it?? A few weeks ago I had no idea myself. When the hubby brought this wacky looking thing home from the grocery store, I was slightly intimidated. I mean, look at it. How do you even penetrate that sucker? It looks like it needs a machete or a power tool, neither of which I happen to own. So I asked him, ‘What should we do with this prehistoric looking pumpkin?’ ‘It’s not a pumpkin’, he said. ‘It’s a kombucha squash.’ A kombucha squash?? This thing just keeps getting more and more interesting! Is it fermented? Does it taste like vinegar? This squash elicits many questions…After further investigation, I learned that it is Kabocha, not Kombucha and it IS a pumpkin, a Japanese pumpkin to be exact. Alright, one step closer to unlocking the mysteries of this intriguing vegetable. Now I just needed to get inside. With much trepidation, I tried cutting it open. The exterior is just as hard and unforgiving as it looks; I decided that instead of risking a trip to the ER, I would throw it in the oven whole. Once cooked it just kind of fell apart and I was able to easily peel it and scoop out the seeds. Eureka!

Now… what to do with it? A taste test revealed a flavor and texture very similar to butternut squash. My first thought was muffins but I’ve been going a little crazy with baked goods lately… I wanted to try something a little different. The squash was creamy with a slight sweetness to it. What do I love that is sweet and creamy? Ah yes. A milkshake! Now I’m inspired. Best of all, I know I already have everything I need to really hit this out of the park. 🙂

This recipe calls for almond milk ice cubes to help create the thickness and creaminess of a traditional milkshake. If you want to use regular ice cubes that is totally fine too.

Vegan Kabocha Milkshake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups roasted kabocha squash (equivalent to one medium size squash)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 6 almond milk ice cubes (or regular)
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt

Process

  1. Roast kabocha squash on 400 for 45 minutes.
  2. Once squash has completely cooled, scoop out seeds, discard skin and place in blender
  3. Add all other ingredients except ice cubes and blend until smooth.
  4. Add ice cubes and blend again. *If shake is too thick, add more almond milk.
  5. Once shake is at your desired consistency, pour into a glass for two, sprinkle a little extra cinnamon on top and share with a loved one or happily gorge out on this decadence all by yourself. ❤

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This.was.awesome. I nommed it for lunch and was so very satisfied…it filled me up for hours. I felt like I was getting away with something. A milkshake for lunch? Oh yes. This shake is packed full of good fats, fiber and beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant and anti inflammatory, so you can you can feel good about indulging in it. I didn’t miss the dairy at all. The texture was rich and velvety and the flavor was reminiscent of pumpkin pie. You can thank the cashews and ice cubes for the creaminess of this Vegan shake. Now that I understand the formula I’m envisioning a spin on chocolate milk shakes in my future… ❤

DIY Natural Blush and Lip Gloss

DIY Natural Blush and Lip Gloss

Makeup and I have had a long tumultuous relationship. I first met eyeliner in middle school and after a few years of abusing it mercilessly, dumped it for globs of chunky mascara and bright pink lip gloss. It took me until after high school to finally start treating my makeup with proper respect and these days I finally feel like we enjoy a symbiotic relationship. I’ve learned that a little goes a long way to helping me feel put together. A swipe of mascara, a slight blush on my cheek, a glossy tinted lip and voila! I’m ready for my day. I’m not one who enjoys the look of heavily pigmented makeup, I feel like I get lost in it. I want something that highlights my natural glow without making me look clownish or clogging my pores full of chemicals. The solution? Beets and hibiscus! They offer gorgeous color and are completely natural. Plus you can add a few different natural ingredients to lighten, darken and/or add a boost of shimmer.

To make your all natural blush and lip stain you are going to need beet root powder as your base. You can acquire this one of two ways. You can make it or you can buy it. I made my beet powder by slicing a beet very thin and then dehydrating for 8-10 hours on 115 or until crispy.
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I then threw dehydrated beets in a coffee grinder to form a powder.

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If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can buy beet root powder here. You can also purchase hibiscus powder and/arrowroot from this company. They are wonderful! They offer high quality products and ship quickly.

Now that you have your beet root powder,

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you can add things to it to change the shade.

Cacao will darken your blush.

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Arrowroot powder will lighten your blush.

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Hibiscus powder will change it to a different pink.

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Ginger powder will add shimmer to any shade

The possibilities are endless here. Play around and you will find a shade perfect for you. You can store these in airtight containers in the fridge for a few months and use as a powder blush, or you can use this powder blush to make a cream blush/lip stain.

Ingredients

• 2 tsp Beet root powder

• 1 tsp organic Shea butter

• 1 tsp organic Beeswax

• 1/2 tsp organic Rosehip oil

*1-2 drops of essential oil for scent – I used grapefruit. This is totally optional

Process

1. In a double boiler on low heat (if you don’t have one, put a glass bowl over the top of a kettle) melt your shea butter, beeswax and rosehip oil together.

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2. Once melted, add your beet root powder and stir until thoroughly combined.

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3. Pour your mixture through a cheesecloth to strain out any gritty particles.

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4. Repeat this process until all beet particles are gone and you are left with a smooth finished product.

5. Place into small airtight container and allow to cool.

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Once cooled, your lip stain/cream blush is ready.

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Enjoy your chemical free glow!!

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Easing the pain with Raw Chocolate

Easing the pain with Raw Chocolate

I am about to bleed. I can feel it. My insides are wrenching, my energy is low and my mood… erratic at best. To make things more interesting, my little love, in all of her licking the floor, teething mania has contracted a head cold. Since she is such a generous girl, she has lovingly shared her germs with mama and now I am battling the onset of my own head cold. *Sigh* The whole world should just pause for 4 days while I sleep this off. That would be the thoughtful thing to do, world!

Since our planet just keeps on turning oblivious to my suffering, one must drudge on. My salvation today; hot ginger tea, cozy socks, cute baby cuddles and… chocolate. Oh chocolate, you gorgeous creature. How I love thee. You make dark days bright. On a day like today, I require guilt free indulgence. I’m simply unwilling to monitor myself. No no no. Today is an ‘eat chocolate until the pain goes away’ type of day. But I know that consuming refined sugar is one of the surest ways to exacerbate this little bug that I’m waging war on. Well, it’s a good thing that I happened to make some nutritious yet still oh so delectable raw chocolates last night. My subconscious is really looking out for me.

Raw Chocolates

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp mesquite powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa butter
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • Pinch of salt
    * For a little variety: a few raspberries, dried fruit, nuts, anything your heart desires

Process

  1. Melt coconut oil and cocoa butter in a double broiler (I melt mine in a glass bowl that fits nicely atop my tea kettle. Fill kettle with water and boil.)IMG_3834.JPG
  2. Add honey and almond butter to melted coconut oil/butter and mix until well combined
  3. Add cacao, mesquite and salt in a spectate bowl and mix until well combined
  4. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until thoroughly combined
  5. Add hemp seeds and mix one last time
  6. Pour chocolate into chocolate molds on it’s own or place a half of a raspberry, pecan, etc. in the mold first and pour chocolate on top.
  7. Place mold in fridge for 10-15 minutes and Voila! Pop those little morsels out for some superfood decadence!

This chocolate is putting a much appreciated, sweet smile on my face today. I hope it gets to improve your day too. ❤

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