Homemade Beauty Recipes: Gentle Lavender Cleanser and Light Moisturizer

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Guest Post by Leslie of Crunchy Betty

It never fails to amaze me just how easy it is to make your own facial scrubs and cleansers – and just how much money you save (naturally) doing so!

These are two recipes for very gentle skincare, and can be used on any skin type at all. You can use them morning and night, if you wish, but for me, they’re great as part of my morning routine. It’s just the right amount of exfoliating and moisturizing “morning skin” craves.

You can find all of the ingredients in the scrub at http://mountainroseherbs.com, or check your local natural foods store or herb shop. You can use any cosmetic clay you like, but for scrubs, I prefer kaolin or bentonite, which are two of the easiest-to-find clays out there.

Gentle Lavender Scrub

* 2 Tbsp. dried lavender buds

* 2 Tbsp. dried chamomile buds

* 1/2 c. whole oats

* 1 Tbsp. cosmetic clay (kaolin, bentonite, french green, or rhassoul)

* Water, rosewater (for dry skin) or witch hazel (for oilier skin) to wet the scrub as you use it.

Place the first three ingredients in your food processor and process on high into a fine powder. This should take between 3 to 5 minutes. Once the oats and dried flowers are powdery, place in your container and stir in the clay.

The scrub is, believe it or not, now complete! As it is dry, it will keep for many months (at least 6) in a cool place – like your bathroom cabinet.

To use: Splash some lukewarm water on your face to start. Put approximately 2 teaspoons of the scrub in a small dish or in your hand and add just enough liquid (water, rosewater, or witch hazel) to the powder to create a slightly watery paste. I keep a small dish in the bathroom all the time for mine, and rinse it out after every use, but your hand works just as well. Scrub the mixture gently over your face for a minute or two. You can either rinse your face clean at this point, or allow the scrub to dry for a few minutes for extra cleansing. Either way, rinse well and finish with the light moisturizer below.

Light Lavender Moisturizer

* 1/2 c. distilled water

* 2 tsp. vegetable glycerin

* 4 drops lavender essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a small container. I like to put my moisturizers in dropper bottles, but this is light enough that you could even pour it in a spray bottle and spritz your face in the morning (or throughout the day, as you need moisture). Apply a thin layer to a clean face.

Leslie, a reformed model and enthusiast of natural beauty, lives in the quirky town of Manitou Springs, CO. She blogs constantly about homemade beauty recipes, household tips, and home remedies at Crunchy Betty (http://crunchybetty.com). She also encourages you, incessantly, to put food on your face. What better way to look like a kid again?

Homemade Salsa Tutorial

Guest Post by Gina of Home Joys

Summer is truly here when the garden produces enough ingredients for a batch of homemade salsa. What can be better than chopping fresh vegetables, stirring a huge colorful pot full, and relishing the wonderful aroma that fills the kitchen?

Here is how I make homemade salsa:

First, peel the tomatoes.

The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to drop them in boiling water for about a minute. The peeling slides off easily. Paste tomatoes are the best for salsa but I just used what I had, which was about five different kinds of tomatoes including a pink variety.

After peeling and coring, chop the tomatoes until you have a gallon.

Chop three peppers. (Green, red or yellow – color doesn’t matter.)

Dice two onions.

Chop about ¼ cup of cilantro. I had no cilantro but lots of parsley, so I substituted parsley for cilantro. Different flavor but about the same appearance.

Crush two garlic cloves or use 1 tsp garlic powder.

For heat, you can chop up jalapeno or another type of hot pepper. I had a bad experience with hot peppers years ago. (Wear gloves and DO NOT touch your face while chopping hot peppers.) Now, when making salsa, I just use dried crushed red pepper. Much simpler and safer!

Mix all the veggies in a large pot and add salt, vinegar, and sugar. (Detailed recipe follows.) Bring to boil and simmer all ingredients for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Removing the lid of the pot while it simmers will result in a thicker salsa. Stir occasionally.

To thicken even more, I mixed ¼ cup of clear jell with ½ cup cold water, and added to the salsa while cooking.

Ladle into jars. Cap with lids and rings. Boiling water can for 10 minutes.

Enjoy the beautiful results, share as gifts, and open up a jar of summertime next winter!

I attempted to figure out my costs.

My tomato and pepper plants were gifts from my dear mother-in-law, so my expenses were almost nothing! Your cost will depend upon the price of your vegetables.

If you are growing tomatoes, peppers, and onions, your salsa expenses will be very minimal. But purchasing veggies at a farmer’s market could be a very economical choice as well. Even in the grocery store, these vegetables will be in season and at their best price and flavor.

Homemade Salsa

  • 1 gallon skinned, chopped tomatoes
  • 3 sweet pepper, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 12 jalapeno peppers or other hot pepper to your heat level
  • OR dried crushed red pepper to taste ( 3 T. was right for our family)
  • 2 T salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup of clear jell dissolved in ½ cup water (optional)

Place all ingredients in large pot. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Seal in jars and boiling water can for 10 minutes.

Gina is a blessed wife and mother of four young children. She shares her “from scratch” cooking and gardening adventures at Home Joys.

Homemade Natural Deodorant Tutorial

Guest Post by Jackie of Lilolu

If you are sensitive to most store bought deodorants then you should try homemade deodorant. It’s natural, smells and feels great!  This is a quick and easy recipe I just know you will love.  You will need:

  • 1/4 cup baking soda (aluminum free)
  • 1/4 arrowroot powder (You can also use cornstarch but it contains talc)
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil
  • 10 drops of Thieves- a blend of rosemary, clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus (You can also use any essential oil you like.  I happen to love the smell of Thieves and it fights against bacteria and fungus.)

1. Pour 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup arrowroot powder and 1/4 cup coconut into a bowl and mix until it has a paste like consistency.

2.  After you mix the baking soda, arrowroot powder and coconut oil add about 5-10 drops of Thieves.  Mix it all together until it has a thick cream-like consistency.

3. Fill a wide-mouth jar or an old (but clean) deodorant container.

You may have to place the containers in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes just so it solidifies.  The deodorant stick container is convenient but it crumbles a little while gliding it on.  I prefer using a wide-mouth jar and applying it with my fingers.

So there you have it.  This deodorant is NOT an antiperspirant but will prevent you from stinking up a room.   I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we do.

Jackie is a mother of 3 and a wife who loves quotes, poetry and learning something new every day.  She has a passion for learning to live an organic life and documents this journey on her blog, Lilolu.  She is also the creator of Mama’s Quotes.

Canning and Preserving Supplies: Make Sure You Have What You Need

Canning and preserving season is here (or about to begin, depending on which foods you like to preserve)!

I’ve got preserving on the brain, as I’m stocking up on freezer bags for all my berries and green beans, making strawberry freezer jam, looking at my canning supplies for upcoming pickles and tomatoes and peaches, and so much more… it’s a busy time, but I love it, and it is a HUGE part of what makes my whole foods diet work on a tight budget!

For those thinking that it might be time to get everything together that they need for preserving this summer, I’ve pulled together a list of a few things to consider:

Canning Supplies

Granite Ware 21-1/2-Quart Steel/Porcelain Water-Bath Canner with Rack :: If you’re in the market for one, you definitely want to get something nice and big, like this one!

Jarden 12 Count Wide Mouth Canning Jar Lids :: I am also looking into these reusable canning lids, so look for a review and giveaway later in August over at Keeper of the Home!

Norpro 7-Piece Home Canning Set :: This is a good kit for the price, although the simpler 5-piece kit below would do you just fine.

Back to Basics 5-Piece Home Canning Kit

Canning/Preserving Books

Putting It Up With Honey: A Natural Foods Canning and Preserving Cookbook :: I love this book because it uses honey instead of sugar in all of its recipes!

Putting Food By: Fifth Edition :: An excellent handbook to have on hand. I have this one and reference it frequently for times, headspace, etc.

Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation :: A new purchase for me last summer, as I’m trying to preserve more of my foods using traditional methods that use lacto-fermentation. The sweet and sour plums I made (without canning) were simply amazing and are still perfectly good a year later!

Preserving Summer’s Bounty: A Quick and Easy Guide to Freezing, Canning, and Preserving, and Drying What You Grow :: Another great reference book!

Remember to Consider Used

Although I’m linking to these products on Amazon, you most certainly do not have to purchase them new. Many of my preserving supplies have come as hand-me-downs, from garage sales or thrift stores, for very cheap and often even for free. I probably have about 9-10 boxes of canning jars, and I don’t think that I paid more than $15 for the entire lot of them!

If you choose to use only the water-bath method (and not pressure-canning), all you really need is a canner, jars, screw tops, and new lids (you always want to use new dome lids to ensure a proper seal) and jar lifter (to grab hot jars safely out of the water). A funnel is handy. A magnetic stick for your lids is a nice idea, but not necessary. I don’t own a sterilizing rack.

Start simply. It really doesn’t take that much to get going! Get yourself one really good reference book, the basic supplies, and then look for tutorials and recipes on the internet.

What supplies do you have for preserving? What do you consider absolutely necessary and what can you live without?

Image by thebittenword

Homemade Laundry Detergent (Recipe and Video)

Guest Post by Jackie of Lilolu

Homemade laundry detergent can be environmentally friendly and save you a bundle. There are many variations of this laundry detergent but I prefer the liquid version since it works best in high efficiency front loaders. It has saved me a lot of money and I hope it will do the same for you. Enjoy.

18 cups of water
1 Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Bar Soap or Fels Naptha soap bar
1 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (Baking Soda will not work – It must have sodium carbonate)
1/2 cup of Borax
3 gallons of hot water
5 gallon bucket

1. The following items will be needed:

2. Grate the Dr Bronner’s soap or Fels Naptha soap with a food processor or a hand grater. This will help the soap dissolve quickly.

3. Bring 18 cups of water to a simmer. Pour the grated soap and stir until it is dissolved.

4. Add one cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (Must be sodium carbonate)

5. Add 1/2 cup of Borax and stir until it is completely dissolved.

6. Add 3 gallons of hot water to a 5 gallon bucket. Then pour your dissolved mixture in the bucket and stir. Let it sit overnight.

7. The following is the end result.

Cost for 4 gallons of homemade laundry detergent:

1 bar Fels Naptha $1.29

55 oz box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda $2.75 (1 cup cost .40¢)

76 oz box Borax $3.79 (1/2 cup cost .20¢)

4 gallons = 64 cups or 64 heavily soiled loads

Total cost per load = .03¢ Happy washing!

Jackie is a mother of 3 and a wife who loves quotes, poetry and learning something new every day.  She has a passion for learning to live an organic life and documents this journey on her blog, Lilolu.  She is also the creator of Mama’s Quotes.