Homemade Burt’s Bees Lip Balm

Yep. I’m a junkie. Call it addiction, call it whatever you want. I LOVE the stuff in the little yellow tube. Can’t go anywhere without it.  Can’t sleep without it. Can’t live without it. But when you lose a tube of precious Burt’s Bees lip balm and have a panic attack trying to find it, only to go to the store (almost in tears because your lips are so dry) and pay $4 to replace it, you start to wonder if there’s a better way. Or rehab. Well, there isn’t (to my knowledge) rehab for lip balm junkies, so I needed to find a better way. And I did.

This is so easy to make, and I already had the stuff in my kitchen.

You need:

  • About 2 tbsp. beeswax (I use this kind)
  • 1 tbsp. Coconut oil (get it here)
  • 1 tbsp. shea butter (optional, could always just use more coconut oil) I use this stuff because it’s pure.
  • 5 drops essential oils (also optional) I like lavender and peppermint.

What to do:

  • Cut, shred, or crumble your beeswax into a small container.
  • Place container in a pot of water over low heat until melted all the way.
  • Add coconut oil, shea, and essential oils and stir until combined.

You could pour this into a little tube, but I just left in it in a little mason jar (these!). This recipe turned out a little thicker and harder than Burt’s Bees, but I like it BETTER because it lasts longer, and won’t wash/wear off as easily. If you want yours just like the original, use a little more coconut oil or a little less beeswax. As for the essential oils, the original only has peppermint oil in it, but I like to add the lavender because it’s healing for the skin and calming for the mind. Use whatever you have (or none at all), I think it would be nice to have a spice blend for the holiday season, and maybe citrus for summer.

I have less than $1 in the ingredients for this, and it makes about 4-5 tubes’ worth of Burt’s Bees, so you’re saving a lot!

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I use sticks of beeswax, but you can buy pre-crumbled here.

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Don’t worry, it hardens as it cools!

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All done!

 

Affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, they pay me a small commission. This helps support my site (they aren’t free you know!) and is greatly appreciated. Actually, if you shop on Amazon at all, please get there through one of my links! It pays me on your total purchase, but doesn’t cost you any extra. 

Shrimp and Bacon Skewers

Continuing on our fish kick, I made another switch-it-up dish that was fantastic! We got some small shrimp on sale, and some good quality bacon. I love bacon-wrapped shrimp, but it’s hard to make with little bitty guys. So I improvised.

bacon shrimp

These are super easy, and took about 2o minutes start to finish.

You need:

  •  Shrimp that are about 1 inch across. I used a pound and it made 10 skewers.
  • About 10 pieces of good quality bacon
  • Optional: seasonings and honey to make a glaze (get it here)

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  3. Arrange shrimp and bacon on skewers, weaving the bacon back and forth between the shrimp (see above). I didn’t have skewers, so I poked a toothpick in each end.
  4. Season and drizzle with honey (or don’t – I just cooked it like that, the bacon was flavorful enough) and bake 15 minutes.

Told you it was easy!

Affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, they pay me a small commission. This helps support my site (they aren’t free you know!) and is greatly appreciated. Actually, if you shop on Amazon at all, please get there through one of my links! It pays me on your total purchase, but doesn’t cost you any extra. 

 

 

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Grain Free Salmon Burgers

We have been on a fish kick lately. It seems to happen at the beginning of every summer, as the weather heats up we crave lighter foods. And I’m not complaining! I have always loved fish. One of our favorites is salmon. I remember my mom making salmon croquettes when I was a kid, it was one of my favorite meals. I still love them, but have changed up the method a little to make them a little healthier. For starters, I cook with wild-caught salmon, not farm raised. It is significantly healthier. You can even find frozen and canned salmon that is wild caught, and honestly, you’re just mushing it up anyway so you might as well get the cheap stuff. I use frozen. And since we’ve been watching our carb intake by avoiding grains, I subbed shredded coconut for the flour.

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I don’t know what’s up with the “light” coconut, but it’s really finely shredded and dry. It’s useless for baking or just eating, so I use it as a grain substitute in meat dishes. Also sorry for the bad picture, I am not a photographer!! Guess I should have thought of that before I started a blog, but oh well. Too late now.

Back to the salmon…

You will need:

  • 1 lb. wild-caught salmon (no skin) or 1 can
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • Lots of salt, pepper, and seasoning
  • Olive oil and butter for frying

What to do:

  1. Mush the salmon up in a bowl.
  2. Add egg, coconut, garlic, and seasonings.
  3. Heat up pan with olive oil and butter.
  4. Form into patties.
  5. Fry about 5 minutes on each side.

I doubled the recipe so we’d have leftovers, so we ended up with 8 good sized patties.

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I added pink Himalayan salt, mixed cracked peppercorns, smoked paprika, Herbes de Provence, and ground cayenne. (Affiliate links)

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 Stir it up until it’s all mixed in good!

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 Melt the butter and olive oil together. Notice how the olive oil is almost a green color? I bought a new (to me) brand that’s REAL olive oil, not the cheap knock-off from Sam’s. You can get some good stuff here. Notice their description of it being cloudy and green. It is so good. The flavor and aroma are amazing!

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When the butter is melted and bubbly, you know the pan is ready. Swish it around a couple times to get the oil and butter all mixed up ad the pan thoroughly coated. Carefully add the patties, it will pop!

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Cook about 5 minutes on each side. I broke a couple trying to flip them with a wooden spoon (my spatulas were all in the dishwasher).

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These were fantastic with my Greek Yogurt Dill Dip, some garden fresh cucumbers, and sweet potato pan fries!

You may have noticed I use a white frying pan. It is a GreenLife ceramic pan, and I love it! Teflon has several hazardous chemicals in it that end up in your food, so I try to use ceramic. I’ve tried several brands, and GreenLife was the cheapest and worked better than some of the more expensive ones. You can get them here.

Affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, they pay me a small commission. This helps support my site (they aren’t free you know!) and is greatly appreciated. Actually, if you shop on Amazon at all, please get there through one of my links! It pays me on your total purchase, but doesn’t cost you any extra. 


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Night Time Weight Loss Smoothie

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As a busy mom, I frequently find myself nearing bedtime and starving, usually because I forgot to eat dinner. You don’t want to eat a big meal right before bed, but you don’t want to go to bed hungry either, so what do you do? You make a night time smoothie! It’s got a few different ingredients that help keep you from having a sugar spike (not what you need at night!) and help you sleep. An added bonus: Having a liquid dinner helps you lose weight. Since your body isn’t active and upright at night, solids will just sit in your gut like a brick, causing gas and bloating and weight gain. Ew! So here it is!

Into a blender:

  • 4 ice cubes
  • a handful of fresh or frozen cherries
  • 1 banana
  • a handful of fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (I like this stuff)
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter (or make your own)
  • 1 scoop protein powder (this brand)
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. flax seed or chia seed (this is a good deal)

Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Here’s why it works. The peanut butter, protein powder, almond milk, and chia seeds are all loaded with protein, which help you feel full all night, minus the brick syndrome. If you use flax seeds instead, then they have more fiber than protein, which also helps you feel full. The cinnamon helps to slow the absorption of the sugar from the banana and berries so you don’t get that insulin spike, again helping you feel full longer. And the cherries? Those babies serve multiple purposes. For starters they are a natural source of melatonin, which is the hormone your body produces when it’s time for bed. They also help with circulation in the joints, so they help with gout and arthritis, making you wake up less stiff.

Need a blender? Get one here!

 

Affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, they pay me a small commission. This helps support my site (they aren’t free you know!) and is greatly appreciated. Actually, if you shop on Amazon at all, please get there through one of my links! It pays me on your total purchase, but doesn’t cost you any extra. 

Bacon Grease On My Salad

My other half went to the store this morning to get me orange juice. He came back with a bag full of goodies, including sea scallops, all-natural bacon, and some organic butternut squash ravioli Remind me to send him to the store alone more often! Needless to say I was eager to find a way to put I all together, and I had some baby spinach hanging out in the fridge (gotta have the greens!) to go with it. I’d seen recipes here and there for hot bacon dressing and wanted to try it, but didn’t have the ingredients. Innovation comes from need, and I needed dressing, so I made one up! It turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself! And it’s pretty easy:

First cook your bacon:

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Pour About 3 tbsp. of the drippings in a bowl:

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Add 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp. honey, and spice to your liking (I just used salt and pepper) and stir:

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Get your salad together. I love spinach and strawberries:

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Pour it over your salad, crumble the cooked bacon, and toss. I also put a little on our butternut squash ravioli:

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Not sure about using bacon grease to make salad dressing? Think about it this way: bottled salad dressings have just as much fat, but it’s in the form of hydrogenated oils, which your body can’t process properly and so they hang out and cause heart disease and diabetes. The fat that comes from animals, especially ones that were fed all-natural diets, isn’t processed or tainted, and your body can use it for fuel. So either way you’re getting fats, but bacon fat is by far better for you than bottled salad dressing. Make sense?

Need supplies? Get them here!

Affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, they pay me a small commission. This helps support my site (they aren’t free you know!) and is greatly appreciated. Actually, if you shop on Amazon at all, please get there through one of my links! It pays me on your total purchase, but doesn’t cost you any extra. 

Easy Sore Throat Fix

Well I got a sore throat yesterday. I have allergies. It happens. But a sore throat usually means that it’s turning into something worse, and I hate being sick (who doesn’t?). Someone told me a long time ago that apple cider vinegar helps a sore throat. Well, I’ll try almost anything. It seems like it would be a little harsh by itself, so I have to mix it  with something. And what feels better on a sore throat than hot tea and honey? Well I happened to be out of caffeine-free teas, so I guess it’s just going to be vinegar and honey.

You know what? It doesn’t taste bad at all! I would drink this stuff every day! And it’s super easy.

  1. Heat up a mug of water
  2. Add 1 tbsp. each of honey and apple cider vinegar
  3. Mix and drink while hot.

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You want to make sure you use good quality apple cider vinegar, preferably the kind with the chunky stuff in it (called the “mother”). And raw honey works best, but no sweat if you don’t have any (I used regular honey, the raw stuff hasn’t been on sale lately).

As you probably know, honey coats the throat which helps it feel less raw. The ACV has antibacterial properties that kill whatever infection was making it sore to start with.

Need Supplies? Get them here! Especially the kettle, it was $110 and is now $36!

 

Affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, they pay me a small commission. This helps support my site (they aren’t free you know!) and is greatly appreciated. Actually, if you shop on Amazon at all, please get there through one of my links! It pays me on your total purchase, but doesn’t cost you any extra. 

 

Daily Weight Loss Smoothie

I drink smoothies almost every day. There are lots of recipes out there for smoothies, but really, just put some stuff in a blender. What I put in them varies based on my mood and what happens to be on sale for that week. It’s usually some combination of ice, fruit, milk substitute, nut butter, apple cider vinegar (ACV), and cinnamon. Sometimes I put in aloe juice, coconut water, avocado, spinach, wheatgrass, cocoa powder, or protein powder, but for the most part I keep it simple.

It doesn’t matter so much what ingredients you use as long as you have the apple cider vinegar and cinnamon. The reason? They both help you lose weight. Apple cider vinegar aides in digestion in several ways, the two biggest being that it decreases how much fat is absorbed and helps your body break down protein in a way that it can be used more effectively. Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar, which helps you feel full longer and keeps your body from storing carbs as fat.

It is actually recommended that you take a spoonful of ACV before each meal to help you lose weight and a spoonful of cinnamon each time you eat carbs, but I have a hard time remembering. Maybe I’ll try that and report back :)

Anyhow, here’s my go-to daily smoothie. It seems to be working, since I’ve lost all my baby weight and then some!

Into a blender (I love Ninja) goes:

  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 banana
  • 5 strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup probiotic yogurt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. nut butter (your choice or make your own)
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Blend and enjoy! Again, this is just a guideline, put whatever you like in it, as long as you remember the ACV and cinnamon. Note that you want to use good quality vinegar and cinnamon. The vinegar is best if you get the kind that has the “mother” in it (that’s the stud floating around). That’s what “feeds” the vinegar and gives it the great healing properties.

Here’s mine:

Put all your fruit in the blender.

Put all your fruit in the blender.

Fill with almond milk.

Fill with almond milk.

Blend and enjoy!

Blend and enjoy!

Need supplies? Get them here!

 

Affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, they pay me a small commission. This helps support my site (they aren’t free you know!) and is greatly appreciated. Actually, if you shop on Amazon at all, please get there through one of my links! It pays me on your total purchase, but doesn’t cost you any extra. 


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Refreshing Summer Toner

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It’s finally getting warmer here, and we’re spending more time outside. I love sitting in the shade with my little one and watching her explore her little world. She gets so excited at things like bugs crawling and cars passing by.

One of the downfalls of the warmer weather is that it can wreak havoc on skin. It seems like my pores are more open and produce more oil, making it feel not-so-fresh. It’s tempting to wash my face more, but that makes skin overcompensate and produce more oil, making the problem worse. A really good interim remedy is to use a toner to remove excess oil and tighten pores.

When I was younger I used a pricey department store toner that worked pretty well, but the ingredients list and cost keep me from going back to it now. In fact, most store bought toners contain alcohol (and a host of other chemicals), which can trigger the over-drying-to-breakout cycle that we are trying to avoid, so it’s easier and cheaper just to make your own. Here’s how!

You will need:

  • About 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • About 1/8 cup good quality witch hazel
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
  • 5 drops tea tree oil (optional)

Mix everything in a small spray bottle and shake. Spray on a cotton pad and wipe on your face for an instant facelift. You could even keep it in the fridge for a nice cool treat on a hot day. I do have to warn you, keep it away from your eyes (I found out the hard way) and if it’s too strong, you can dilute with half a cup of distilled water. And make sure you shake before each use. Don’t worry, the vinegar smell goes away within a couple minutes and you’re left with a clean, fresh face!

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Make sure you get alcohol-free witch hazel!

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Pour it all in a small spray bottle!

Pour it all in a small spray bottle!

Need supplies? Get them here!

Affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, they pay me a small commission. This helps support my site (they aren’t free you know!) and is greatly appreciated. Actually, if you shop on Amazon at all, please get there through one of my links! It pays me on your total purchase, but doesn’t cost you any extra. 

Date Night

sushi

So it wasn’t really a date night, but it was one of my favorite couples’ activities: eating homemade sushi. We got some sashimi grade fish from the fish market, and cut it up with fresh fruits and avocados. It’s amazing how the flavors of the fish really stand out when there’s no rice, and the sweet and tangy berries offset the saltiness enough to really play with the senses.

This is a great way to spend some time with your significant other, save  money, and eat healthy! We would have paid at least double to get that much sushi in a restaurant, and it would have been surrounded by carbs…yikes!

There isn’t a rhyme or reason, just have fun with it!