Monday, July 30, 2012

Simple Homemade Eye Makeup Remover {A Picture Tutorial}

Gather the ingredients:
-1 cup distilled water
-1/4 teaspoon Dr. Bronner’s unscented baby-mild liquid castile soap
-1 teaspoon olive oil
Combine water, castile soap, and olive oil in a glass jar.
Give jar a little shake.
Apply solution to cotton ball and remove makeup as you normally would.
Admire the amazing results.
Store on the bathroom counter.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

31 Ways to Use a Mason Jar in Your Kitchen

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1. Leftovers. Perfect for soups or stews, grains like rice, chopped veggies, scrambled eggs… endless possibilities.
2. Smoothies. Make extra and store it in the fridge for later in the day, or use the jar to bring the smoothie when you’re on the go.
3. Drinking water for day. Need a way to visually measure how much water you are drinking throughout the day? Try using quart or 1/2 gallon mason jars to put your daily water out on the counter, then use it to refill glasses until it’s gone. You’ll know for sure whether you hit your water target or not.
4. Sprouting seeds or grains. With the sprouting lids I mentioned, this is a breeze for making fresh green sprouts. But even without fancy lids, I’ve been using jars for sprouting for years. Works for sprouting grains, too.
5. Soaking nuts or seeds. Soaking overnight reduces enzyme-inhibitors in nuts and seeds.
6. Store nut butter. After you soak your nuts, make homemade nut butter!
7. Sourdough starter. I like pint jars for creating new sourdough starter, then I’ll transfer it to a quart or 1/2 gallon jar for storing and maintaining the starter long term.
8. Making/storing kombucha. This healthful, fermented drink can also be flavored.
9. Homemade yogurt. I like making mine directly in jars, either in my oven or in my Excalibur dehydrator. Another option is to make yogurt in your crockpot, then transfer to jars once cool and set for easy fridge storage.
10. Mason jar meal. This creative idea would be great for a picnic!
11. Flower vase. Simple, quaint, beautiful.
12. Making milk kefir or water kefir or coconut milk kefir.
13. Storing homemade juice or iced teas in fridge. The large 1/2 gallon jars are particularly perfect for this, and even for brewing the tea, especially with the screw-on plastic lids.
14. Keeping herbs fresh in the fridge (green onions, cilantro, etc.). Fill a jar 3/4 full with water, place your bunch of fresh herbs in it, then store in the fridge for herbs that keep much longer than they would in your produce drawer.
15. Spice mixes. Making your own spice mixes is cheap and easy. The small jar (1/2 pint or smaller) make ideal spice jars.
16. Dry pantry staples. I like to buy in bulk, then store staples like sea salt, baking soda and baking powder in jars.
17. Dried vegetables from garden. Not only is it practical, but dehydrated summer produce looks beautiful in jars.
18. Canning. Whether you stick to a batch or two of jam each season, or you want to get serious about preserving the season’s bounty, this is the season to think about stocking up on jars if you plan to do some summer preserving.
19. Storing dry beans, pasta, rice, etc. in the pantry. There’s something particularly pleasing about a pantry full of mason jars.
20. Mixing salad dressings. I use 1/2 pint or pint jars with lids to mix up salad dressings, then store them in the door of my fridge to make salad eating simple. You could do this with homemade marinades or other types of sauces as well.
21. Homemade syrup. Our two favorite syrups (aside from genuine maple syrup, our number one choice) are honey butter syrup or a more typical syrup made with Sucanat (unrefined sugar) or coconut sugar. A perk of using glass is that you can soften extra honey butter syrup (since it will harden in the fridge) by letting it warm up in a pot of lightly boiling water for a couple minutes.
22. Mason jar salads. Love this brilliant idea!
24. Fermenting foods like salsa or pickles or sauerkraut. Leave them out on the counter while fermenting, then add a lid and store in the fridge, while you enjoy these digestion-boosting foods.
25. As a drinking glass. I’ve seen many people actually build up a collection of various mason jars, purely for the sake of using as drinking glasses. Great for everyday, or fun for a party or special event.
26. Dry baking mixes like bread, pancakes, etc. Making your own homemade baking mixes saves money and time. Store them in amounts that are just right for one morning of pancakes, or two loaves of bread, to simplify the baking process even more (no measuring!).
27. Culture your own creme fraiche (or sour cream).
28. Soup broth. Store your homemade bone broth for a few days in your fridge, or in your freezer (but make sure to leave a good amount of headroom so that your jars don’t crack).
29. Food gifts. Layered food mixes, like dry bean soup or cookies in a jar, look so lovely and homey in a mason jar. Add a pretty fabric or decorative paper label to the lid to make it extra special.
30. Decoratively. Aside from their practical uses, they’re also just plain old pretty. Try doing a search on Pinterest for Mason Jar. You won’t believe how many amazing ideas you find. Candles, lanterns, party decor… the possibilities are endless!
31. Edible beauty products. Did you know that you already have a kitchen full of beauty supplies? Try making some of these edible beauty products, or homemade scrubs like the ones in Simple Scrubs to Make and Give.
About the Author
Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they’ve been given. She has written two books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed and without going broke. She is the editor and author of Keeper of the Home. View all posts by Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home

Monday, July 16, 2012

Homemade Calamine Lotion

I found this great recipe for itchy rashes and bug bites however I replaced one ingredient: Witch Hazel -for- Water for a longer shelf life.

-1 tablespoon sea salt
-1 tablespoon baking soda
-1 tablespoon bentonite clay-15 drops essential oils (use one or a combination of lavender, geranium, chamomile, yarrow, peppermint, and tea tree)
-enough **Witch Hazel**  to form a paste (original recipe called for 'water')
1. In a small glass or ceramic bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
2. Slowly mix in the water until a smooth paste forms, then add the essential oils.
3. Use as you would calamine lotion and apply directly to affected area.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Four Secrets to Thick, Creamy Yogurt Every Time

Four Secrets to Thick, Creamy Yogurt Every Time | Passionate Homemaking

Four Secrets to Thick, Creamy Yogurt Every Time

by Trina Holden on Jun 15, 2011 in recipes & kitchen tips

Yogurt is one of the simplest traditional foods and a staple in the real food kitchen. Everyone should make their own. The problem is, many have tried to master this simple technique only to have it turn out runny, flavorless, or sour. Eventually they return defeated to the expensive, overly sweetened, store bought version that is all-too-often stripped of good fats.

I have been making yogurt for sixteen years and only in the last six months been able to obtain consistent results with a yogurt that is creamy and thick as custard. (See the photo – my yogurt is so thick it can stand on its head!) My kids crave it and even my husband will eat it–hooray!

If you have not been satisfied with your yogurt attempts so far, I encourage you to check out these tips and see if there isn’t something here that was missing from your previous attempts. Many of my friends have finally achieved the goal of making their own yogurt by following this step-by-step recipe and keeping in mind these tips…
The Four Secrets to Thick and Creamy Yogurt Every Time

Keep it fresh! Get new starter every month or so. You can use your own yogurt for starter several times over, but if your yogurt starts turning out runny or has a funny consistency, it’s time for new starter.
Keep it clean! Sterilize the jars you will incubate and store the yogurt in. You want to have control over what bacteria and cultures are growing, so always start with a clean slate.
Respect your starter! Don’t beat it to death – let it retain some of its form and dignity and it will work well for you every time.
Let it rest! A long incubation time gives the yogurt a full flavor and thicker consistency. Don’t be afraid to leave it overnight!

Yogurt in 10 Simple Steps

1. Pour 1/2 gallon of milk int a large, heavy bottomed sauce pot. For vanilla yogurt, add 1T. vanilla extract and 1/2 c. maple syrup, honey, or sucanat.

2. Heat milk to 180 degrees, or until it bubbles and forms a sking. Turn of heat.

3. Cool milk to 120 degrees. or until you can keep your finger in the milk without burning yourself. Place pot in sink of cold water to speed up this step.

4. Meanwhile, sterilize 2-3 qt. jars by pouring boiling water over them and letting them drain.

5. When milk has cooled, scoop one cup milk into a small bowl and gently swirl in 1/2 c. yogurt (any fresh plain yogurt from the store will work or you can use a yogurt starter)–no stirring!

6. Pour starter mixture back into pot and swirl gently. You are introducing the starter to the milk, not incorporating it.

7. Pour the milk into sterilized jars, if you see chunks of yogurt, you know you did steps 5 and 6 right! Try to divide these chunks between your jars.

8. Cap jars and set them in the pot you warmed the milk in. Fill pot to rim of jars with hot tap water and leave in sink or on counter.

9. Let yogurt incubate 10-18 hours.

10. Move jars to fridge to chill.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


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Stevia -   So, so easy!!  There are a few ways you can use your stevia.  Fresh leaves, dried or make an extract.  Try to use the leaves before the plant flowers or it will go to seed and become bitter.

Dry the leaves like any other herb.  Then pulverize them into a fine powder.  The rule of thumb is 1 tsp is equivalent to 1 cup of sugar!!  Stevia is 30 times sweeter than sugar!!

For fresh stevia you can actually chew on the leaves themselves, add them directly to beverages chopped up to add sweetness or use about 20 leaves to 2 cups of water and steep for about 30 minutes.  Let cool.  It is a very, very, very sweet liquid that you can add to drinks, and 4-6 drops would be about 1 tsp of sugar with 2 tbsp being about 1 cup of sugar.