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Easy Fresh Herb Marinade

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Easy Fresh Herb Marinade

This marinade is super easy and versatile.  It can be adapted using whatever you have on hand or growing in your garden.  Using fresh herbs makes this really colorful and pretty to top whatever you are using it with.  This marinade is my favorite to use on a roast or steak.    I used it on a roast for Easter instead of marinating the meat in it I topped it after searing and before putting it in the oven.  It made a crispy herbed crust on the meat.  It was a hit!!

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Herb Marinade

3 cloves of garlic minced

1 Tablespoon fresh Rosemary removed from stems and roughly chopped

1 Tablespoon Thyme removed from stems

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

In a small bowl mix all ingredients.

Set half of the marinade aside to top meat before or after cooking.

Marinade the meat for 2o minutes at room temperate.

Making your own marinades takes the guess work out of whats in it. The garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper is a great base and you can add in whatever herbs you like.  This recipe can easily be adaptable to whatever you have on hand.  I have made this same recipe with parsley, oregano, and sage.  This version is also good with chicken thighs.  I use this frequently when I can’t think of anything to make for dinner or am wanting something a little different.  It dresses up any dinner with little effort.

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Activated Charcoal and Avocado Face Mask

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Avocado and Activated Charcoal Face Mask

I have been using activated charcoal in my skincare routine for awhile now and I love it! I have noticed a difference in the look and feel of my skin.  Today I am sharing all of the reasons why you should add activated charcoal to you skin care routine.

Activated Charcoal is a fine powder that is odorless and non-toxic. It draws oil, dirt and other harmful substances from pores and skin due to its adsorption powers.  It works by trapping toxins in its millions of tiny pores and negative electric charge.  Look for charcoal made from coconut shells or bamboo be sure to read labels like with anything.  You can find activated charcoal in the supplement aisle of any health food store usually in capsules.  If you want a powder which is easier for skincare purposes you can find it online.

The skin benefits include anti-aging properties and acne prevention.  Anti-aging benefits include tightening pores, smoothing the skin, and reducing inflammation.  Reducing inflammation is significant in preventing premature aging skin.  Activated Charcoal has anti-bacterial properties ideal for acne prone skin.  Trapping impurities, healing pimples, and preventing further breakouts.

By adding the avocado to this mask adds to the clear skin and anti-aging benefits.  Avocado is super nourishing and softening to the skin.  Its also a natural sunscreen protecting the skin even more.  A few warnings this mask will be black, like really black.  That is how it should look.  It will not smell like charcoal though.  It will smell just like avocado.  This mask will leave you skin feeling smooth, clean, and nourished.  A warning it is charcoal it will be hard to wash off things to be careful when making, applying, and washing off.

 

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Activated Charcoal and Avocado Face Mask

In a small bowl smash half an avocado removing as many lumps as possible.

Add 2 capsules of activated charcoal.

Mix

Apply a thin layer to face.  Let dry.  Wash off face.

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This will make enough for 2 masks.  Invite a friend a to join!

Epsom Salt Bath

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Epsom Salt Bath

Next to coconut oil epsom salt is a favorite staple in my bathroom.  Epsom salt is an awesome additive to take any bath up a notch.  Its benefits and uses are numerous.  Epsom salt added to a bath can increase your internal levels of magnesium naturally without supplementation.  We are deficient in magnesium these days because our soil does not have the nutrients it use to.  Its also better absorbed through the skin then through the stomach.  Healthy magnesium levels help reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body.

You can use epsom salt for more then just a bath.  Relieve a minor sunburn with 2 tablespoons epsom salt and 1 cup cold water. Soak a washcloth in the water and apply to skin.  You can also relieve itchy skin and bug bites with the same recipe above but added to a spray bottle.  Spray on irritated areas.

Take an epsom salt bath next time you have a cold or the flu.  Epsom salt can aid in the detoxifying process leading to a shorter duration in symptoms.  This bath can be done once a week or only when you want.  In a hot bath add 1 cup epsom salt, 10 drops lavender essential oil, and 1/2 cup of baking soda.  Soak for at least 20 minutes.  This will draw out toxins, balance your pH, and lower stress.

My all time favorite epsom salt bath recipe is.  Add 1 cup epson salt and 1 cup coconut oil into a hot bath.  You can add an essential oil if you want too.  Soak for at least 12 minutes.  Adding coconut oil will make this bath extra hydrating.  This is a great bath prior to bed time.  Add in Lavender essential oil and enjoy a restful night sleep.

*The bath surface will be slick so be careful!

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All Natural Egg Dying

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All Natural Egg Dying

Ditch the dye tabs and try dying your Easter eggs with all natural ingredients that you probably already have in the kitchen. This has been something I have wanted to try for a few years and I finally did!  It took some trial and error but I think the final product turned out well.  I got three colors to turn out the way I wanted.

Beets– The beets will give you a pink to red hue.  In a saucepan add 4 cups chopped beets, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 2 cups water, and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes.  An option is to boil the eggs in the beet water or put in a jar until you achieve the color you want.

Turmeric–  Turmeric will make a dark yellow color.  In a saucepan add 4 tablespoons or turmeric, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 2 cups water, and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.  Once cool dip eggs or put in a jar until the color is what you want.

Purple Cabbage– Purple cabbage actually gives you a blue tone.  In a saucepan add 4 cups cabbage chopped, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 2 cups water, and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.  Let cool dip or put in jar until the color you get the color you want.

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A few tips: My house did not smell amazing after this project especially after the turmeric.  I left the eggs in for about 24 hours.  Put them in something that seals like a mason jar and put them in the refrigerator after they have cooled enough to put a lid on.  After many tries the jar is what gave me the colors I wanted. If using the jars make sure to stir eggs once in awhile to they color evenly.  These recipes are easily adjusted for how many eggs or hues you want to achieve.

Easter Brunch

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Easter Brunch

Easter is popular day for brunch.  I am sharing some of my favorite brunch ideas and recipes with you today.  These are easy and quick recipes so you won’t spend all of your time in the kitchen!

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Smoked Salmon Frittata

Preheat oven to 350.  In a bowl whisk 8 eggs and 2 tablespoons of milk of choice.

Add in 5 ounces of smoked salmon and 1/4 cup of roughly chopped fresh dill and salt and pepper.

In an oven safe skillet heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil pour in egg mixture.

Make sure the salmon is evenly distributed.

Once the sides start to set put in the oven checking after 12 minutes.

 

Roasted Potatoes

Preheat oven to 375.

I use 1 pound of red potatoes and leave the skin on.

Cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces.

In a ziplock bag add  3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder, dried parsley, salt and pepper.

Add in potatoes, coating evenly.

On a baking sheet evenly spread the potatoes.

Roast in oven for 25-30 minutes stirring half way through.

 

Oven Baked Bacon

Preheat oven to 400.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Lay bacon spacing evenly.

Bake for 15-18 minutes turning pan half way through so bacon browns evenly.

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A few more ideas.

Have a mimosa or Bloody Mary bar.  Or both! You can make these ahead of time or have a station for everyone to make their own.  Get creative with the garnishes.  Frozen fruit on small skewers for the mimosas.  Bacon or something pickled for the Bloody Mary.

Serve the frittata with an arugula salad with a lemon vinaigrette or a light dressing or some roasted asparagus. For something sweet have a fruit salad.  Make it your own and have fun doing it!

 

Coconut Oil Skincare

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Coconut Oil Skincare

I love coconut oil.  I use keep a jar in my kitchen and a jar in my bathroom.  Cooking with it is great but I like to use it on my skin even more!  Coconut oil is awesome because it has antibacterial properties helping keep your skin clean and clear.  Its incredibly moisturizing and has antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin A which help slow down the aging process.  I use coconut oil head to toe and I’m going to share how I do that.

Do you have a dry scalp or dry hair? Depending on length of hair warm a tablespoon of coconut oil in your hands and spread on hair from roots to tips.  Concentrating on the ends.  Comb through then wrap hair in towel and let sit for half hour.  Wash hair normally.  Enjoy softer hair.

On the face the uses are almost endless.  Coconut oil can be used as a makeup remover, moisturizer, night cream, and can lengthen your lashes.  I wash my face and slather it on my face and neck at night.  I wake up to super soft hydrated skin.  If you are prone to oilier skin mix with your normal moisturizer or wash with it instead.  You get the benefits with out the added oil.

You can make lotion with coconut oil but I just use it plain out of the jar.  After a shower I just warm some in my hands and use as you would a body oil.  You can add an essential oil if you feel like it but I mostly just use it plain.  I have eczema and this is the one thing I use that has cleared it up with out much effort.  If you have sensitive skin like I do this will not irritate at all.

Out of shave gel or can’t find one you like? Coconut oil is awesome to shave your legs with.  Use it like you would a shave gel and you probably won’t need to put any lotion on your legs after it works that good.  Your skin will be soft with a close shave.  Its the best!

A few other uses sunburn relief.  It replaces the moisture lost and soothes.  If you add lavender essential oil in your burn will be lighter in and less painful in no time.  Add coconut oil to your epsom salt bath.  Add  1/4 cup epsom salt and 1/4 cup coconut oil in a hot bath.  You will get the detox benefits with added moisture.

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I found these individual packets of coconut oil at Trader Joe’s.  They are awesome for travel I throw a couple of packets in my makeup bag and I have coconut oil without the mess of trying to put into something smaller or having it leak.

Instant Pot Freezer Stock

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Instant Pot Freezer Stock

I got my mom an Instant Pot for Christmas and oh my word its the best thing ever! We have been using this amazing pot to stock our freezers with foods we use often.  This time we did chicken breasts, ground beef, beans, and tomato sauce.  All of this took us a total of about 2.5 hours total including clean up and bagging.

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Chicken

We used 4 pounds of chicken breasts to make about 3 freezer bags of shredded chicken.  You could measure out the shredded chicken into the bags we just eye ball it. Next put the breast into the pot with salt and pepper and about 1 cup of broth or water.  By not seasoning this a lot we can use it in anything.  It usually takes about 25 minutes to cook.  Once done cooking and the pressure has normalized take the chicken out and let cool.  Shred.

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Beef

We cooked the beef from frozen.  I always forget to take meat out.  This might be the coolest thing about this pot you can cook from frozen.  3 pounds frozen beef.  Use the trivet so it cooks evenly.  Add 1 cup water.  This is important use the manual setting and set for 25 minutes.  After the time quick release the steam carefully.  Check meat if its still frozen or red add reseal and set for 5 minutes.  We had to do this twice. Once done remove from pot and break up using a wooden spoon.   I forgot to take a picture of the beef but its beef its not pretty.

Beans

My mom and I both like using dry beans but soaking and cooking them is time consuming and they don’t always turn out.  Enter the Instant Pot you don’t have to soak the beans.  Add the dried beans to the pot cover with water.  Set for 20 minutes.  After the steam has released you can drain the beans or keep them in some liquid whatever you prefer.  Remember is that dried beans double in size so only fill about half full including water. They smell so good and turn out perfect.

Tomato Sauce

We got about 4 bags of sauce to freeze out of this batch. We used  4) 28 ounces cans of crushed tomatoes, 2 onions diced, 5 cloves of garlic minced ( we like garlic use what you want), salt and about 2 cups of vegetable broth.  Saute the onions and garlic in the Instant Pot (there is a setting for it) add in the tomatoes and broth.  Cook on high for about 13 minutes. Once the sauce has cooled you can immersion blend or keep it chunkier.  I double bag the sauce its heavier then the rest.  My house smelled like sauce had been simmering all day it was amazing!  Again I forgot to take a picture.

We keep these pretty generic so we can add whatever seasonings we want when we are using it.  The chicken and beef will probably be used of tacos, added to the tomato sauce for spaghetti, or to top salads.  The beans will be used in similar ways salads, tacos, or soups.  The sauce can be made into enchilada sauce, spaghetti sauce, or used as a base for soup.  Its great to have food on hand in the freezer that could finish a meal in no time or when things just get busy.

Lastly, a few tips and tricks. Remember to label your freezer bags with names and dates. Freeze bags lying on their side so they are flat.  This will take up less room in your freezer.

Spring Gardening Tips

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Spring Garden Tips

Gardening can be fun but also intimidating if you’re just starting out.  Here are a few things to think about.

It’s a time commitment. Gardening can be time consuming planting, weeding, watering, pest control, and harvesting.  Thats a lot so start small.  You will grow more and produce more each year but start small.  It will be cheaper to start and you can hone your skills with a few plants before adding more.  This is especially helpful if you’re new to gardening.  You can figure out what you can handle and what works for you.

Know your climate zone.  You can look this up in a gardening book or in google.  This way you can find the right plants for your area, best time to plant, and harvest.  Certain plants will grow better in certain areas.  I live somewhere where squash goes crazy.

Find the right space.  Gardens need sun so pick somewhere in your yard that will have about 8-10 hours of sun a day.  It also needs to be large enough to hold all of your plants.  If you don’t have a space like you may want to try container gardening you can move the planters toward sun and its great for space saving.  Raised beds are another option.  The require less weeding, have better drainage, and you will have a healthier growth.  If raised beds interest you cedar is rot resistant so your beds will last a while.  Raised beds can be expensive so make sure this is something you want to do.  I have also used containers and I usually end up using a mix of both.   The most important thing to keep in mind is make your garden as accessible to yourself as possible.  This way watering, weeding, and harvesting will be easier.

What to plant? When choosing what to plant keep in mind that some will produce through the season like tomatoes, peppers and squash.  While others will produce once and be done like carrots, lettuce, and onions.  Lettuce, snap peas, beans, radishes, summer squash and herbs are pretty easy to grow so if you’re just starting out they are good.  Plant what you eat most often that way your garden is useful and not wasteful.

I have learned quite a few things in my 7 years of veggie gardening mostly by trial and error.  Starting seeds myself did not work for me so I buy starts its the only way I am successful.  You can find organic starts at a lot of garden centers now.  In my raised bed I plant lettuce, tomatoes, kale, zucchini, walla walla onions, swiss chard, spinach, and string beans.  In containers I plant herbs, snap peas, jalapeños, blueberries, and strawberries.

Each year I try to grow something new sometimes it works other times it doesn’t.  Tomatoes need to be staked or caged.  I learned about two years ago how to stake my tomatoes in a way that works for me.  Its called the Florida Weave.  You set stakes at each plant and take twine and weave it in a criss cross pattern through the plants.  You add twine when the plants grow to keep them trained.  I grow my herbs in pots because they are easily accessible and usually last longer then the veggies.  I am able to control the elements they are exposed to more and get to use fresh herbs longer.

Gardening is fun for the whole family! Start small and you will be successful!

Spring Clean Your Beauty Routine

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Spring Clean Your Beauty Routine

Its the perfect time to go through all your beauty products and purge what you don’t need or things with yucky ingredients. I use this time to get rid of samples I have been holding onto, products I no longer used to clean out all the drawers in my bathroom and reorganize them with what I’m keeping.

Ideally you should be cleaning your brushes at least once a month if you have not been doing that start now.  Not regularly cleaning your brushes can lead to bacteria on your brushes which then goes on your face.  I use a spray I can use all the time.  You can also make an easy cleaner with warm water, dish soap, and olive oil.  Work brushes through the oil mixture.  Rinse well and gently squeeze out excess water.  Place brushes on a towel handle higher then the brush side to dry.

Clean off your hot tools.  Wipe your flat iron or curling iron with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.  Wipe down with a wet cloth repeat as necessary.  This will remove build up from products on your hair prior to use.

Hair Brush- Fill a bowl with warm water and mild shampoo swish the brush around and then place the brush brustle side down to dry.

Now go through your drawers and cabinets and evaluate everything you use regularly. Check expiration dates.  Get rid of the products you no longer use.  Get rid of the products with less then 1/4 left.  Make the switch to cleaner products if you haven’t already.  You can do this one of two ways.  Make the switch and toss everything else or buy as you use up what you have.  I prefer using then buying.  I don’t like to waste.  Look for products without synthetic fragrances, sulfates, phthalates, parabens, or lead.  Your skin is your largest organ treat it well and use quality products.

Finally, wipe out make up bags and drawers you keep your stuff in and reorganize.

As a rule of thumb these products should be switched out every:

Mascara- 3-6 months

Eyeshadow- 3 months

Eyeliner- 3 months

Liquid concealer-1 year

Powder or stick- 2 years

Foundation- 6-12 months

Cream blush-1 year

Powder blush- 2 years

Face powder- 2 years

Lipstick/gloss- 1 year or if you’ve been sick toss.

Unsure how long you have had a certain product?  Toss it better safe then sorry!

 

Healthy Travel Tips

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Healthy Travel Tips Instagram

Its the first day of Spring!  This is the time of year travel is on my brain.  After a rainy cold winter I am ready for a change of scenery.  Vacations are great but getting to your destination sick, getting sick while there, or returning home sick is something we would all like to avoid.  Whether you are flying or driving germs are everywhere.  Add that to the disruption to your schedule and food routines and you are bound to not feel your best while traveling.  Here are some tips to keep you feeling good your whole trip.

Prior to travel its important to strengthen your immune system.  Getting sick on vacation is no fun.  You also want to return healthy.  Leading up to your vacation maintaining a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, and taking extra vitamin C and B vitamins will help you ward off the sickness.

Pack healthy snacks.  Airport food and road trip food is not the healthiest.  Packing some healthy alternatives will keep you feeling your best when you reach your destination.  Veggies, fruits, granola, sandwiches, nuts etc.  are all healthy filling options.

Drink plenty of water.  Air travel is especially dehydrating.  Most of us do better with some humidity in our air and the air in an airplane is dry really dry. Drinking water will keep your skin and body hydrated.  Water also helps with jet lag and keeps your energy levels up.

Stay somewhere with a kitchen.  Airbnb or VRBO are great because you usually get a fully stocked kitchen.  Some hotels have kitchens available and most of the time you can get a refrigerator in your room for free.  This allows you to have healthy snacks and food options in reach.    If you have a kitchen you can choose what meals you want to eat in and what you want to eat out.  We do this most places we travel.  Its nice to be able to eat a normal breakfast or lunch.  Sticking somewhat to your normal routine will help you feel your best and enjoy your vacation.

Road Travel Tips:

Pack a cooler with sandwich makings, fruit, veggies, water, and snacks.  You can stop, stretch your legs, and have lunch and continue on your way.

Road trips can be stressful.  Getting stuck in traffic or road construction can raise the blood pressure when all you are wanting to do is get your vacation started.  Load your iPod with favorite songs or an audio book.  Remember to breathe.

Keep hydrated.  It may mean you need to stop more frequently but you will feel better hydrated.

Wash your hands frequently and use sanitizer when water is not available.

Air Travel Tips:

Pack TSA friendly healthy snacks.  Airport food is not great.  Veggies, fruit, granola, and nuts are all great options and easy to pack.  Throw some Emergen-C in your carry on add it to your water for an immunity boost.

Bring your own water bottle and fill it up at a restaurant or at a fountain. You can buy a bottle but airports are expensive.

Hand sanitizer wipes are great for wiping down your seat and tray.  Airplanes are germy.

Depending on the length of your flight get up and walk the aisle flying is already uncomfortable but if you get up and move a bit you will feel better.

Remember your neck pillow, blanket, and socks.  I do not like what the hand out on the plane so I bring my own.  I bring a neck pillow that can attach to my purse so I don’t have extra to carry and a small blanket or scarf to keep warm.  If I am flying at night I bring socks so I can take my shoes off but still be warm.  I can sleep on a plane this way and arrive not dragging.

Traveling is the not so fun part of vacation for me at least.  I use these tips to arrive feeling my best and able to enjoy the fun part (the actual vacation).  Then I am able to return home recharged and relaxed which is the point right?!