Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Healthy Gluten Free High Protein Oatmeal Bars

I am always looking for healthy snacks for school lunches.  My kids are pretty good eaters, but I find getting protein into their lunch at school can be a challenge.  With many schools not allowing nuts, that takes a many protein options out of the pool.

So I have been on the hunt for a kid friendly protein bar without the nut butter.  I also watch the gluten content of foods so gluten free is a bonus.  After a few test runs I have found one that the kids love and I actually have to hide it when I make it so they don't devour the entire batch of bars!

Photo from Peas and Thank-you blog
I adapted this recipe from the Chocolate Chip Zee Bars from Peas and Thank You - she has posted great pictures for each step.  

I changed it up a bit, and added some flax seed meal and hemp hearts.   I have posted thHealthy Gluten-Free Oatmeal Protein Bars on this site for all to enjoy! 
Now lets see how long the kids will eat these.  As with most things I create, I can only offer it for a limited time to keep the interest there.  So I will have to create some variations of this for sure!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Making your own laundry soap

Many of us these days are conscious of the environment and of the choices we make when purchase various products.  Laundry detergent may not seem like a big deal, but it is.  Considering the toxicities of their chemical ingredients and the carbon foot print caused in production and delivery, I have opted to do some research and find a cheaper, more eco-friendly option. 

In this post I am going to tell you about how to make your own laundry soap!  It is so easy and only requires a few natural ingredients! If you have allergies at all in your family, this is definitely a recipe to try.

My version is made for hard water as we have very hard water where I live, but if you have soft water, we can easily make one for you too!  The ingredients:  Borax, Soap Flakes and Washing Soda!  That is all.

Soap recipe

Each batch yields approximately 32 ounces (between 32-64 loads based on how many Tbsp used per load).  I like to only use 1 Tbsp per load on my HE washer.
  • 1 cup of soap flakes or grate a bar of soap such as ivory.
  • 1 cup of borax
  • 1 cup of washing soda
If you have soft water, decrease the washing soda to half. Thoroughly stir together and enjoy the results!  This laundry soap works so well and is so cost effective ($0.08 per load).  For anyone that wonders if Borax safe, well it is!  Borax is about as dangerous as baking soda.  Do not however confuse it with Boric Acid.  The two are NOT the same.  Stay away from Boric Acid.For those of you who want more info, read this excellent Crunchy Betty article where she expounds the toxicity levels of borax.
High Efficiency (HE) Washers - HE front-load washers require “special soap” for one reason alone – low suds. Because they use less water, they require soap that is less sudsy. The good news is,this homemade detergent is VERY low suds. 
Where to buy:  I purchased the soap flakes through well.ca, a great place to shop online for groceries and shipping is free!  They carry many natural and eco-friendly products.  Washing soda and Borax are both available at your local grocer.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Quick and Easy Homemade Vapor Rub

I have been wanting to make my own homemade version of vicks vapor rub.  I don't know if you remember the stuff from childhood, but I certainly do!  If I had a cold or cough my would always put this on my chest or under my nose.  I loved the smell of it.  Very relaxing and I would always manage to fall asleep after my mom would give me some.  

Nowadays I am looking for more natural, do it yourself home remedies, and ones that I can use on my kids.  This is what brought me to research this recipe.  I found one that is great and very simple to do.  If you can bake cookies, this is a no brainer.  

The recipe is taken from Crunchy Betty! Love the blog name.  Very few ingredients are required and you should be able to find them all at a local health food store or vitamin shop.  I went to our local one "The Garage" (The Community Farms Store) here in Duncan.

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Beeswax beads or grated beeswax
  • peppermint essential oil
  • eucalyptus essential oil
  • rosemary essential oil
No exceptions, eucalyptus and peppermint mixed together will quickly relieve a stuffy nose or irritating cough.  Rosemary is a natural antibacterial and antiviral and know to be a great essential oil for respiratory and sinus health. 

So now that you have your ingredients list, just get a glass measure cup to make it in, have a small jar or container to pour it into.  I used an baby jar and a mini jam jar.  Sterilize your container by pouring boiling water into the container and the lid.

Take your glass measuring cup and add 1/4 cup EVOO and 2 tsps beeswax.  Melt it either on the stove with the glass measuring cup in a pot of hot/boiling water or 2 mins in the microwave.  Heat it up just to melt the beeswax into the EVOO.  Once melted add your essential oils.  I used 35 drops of Peppermint, 15 drops eucalyptus and 10 drops of rosemary.  You can experiment with other oils, but I like this combination best. 

Mix the oils in by stirring for a few minutes, then pour into your containers.  To speed up the solidification of the mixture, put it in the fridge.  Once fully cooled put the lid on and you are good to go!  This will last at least 6 months or more!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lip Balm!

I love lip balm and I am always on the look out for this stuff.  I find that I am quite particular, I don't like it too firm, too soft or too much scent.  I love citrus, I like peppermint sometimes and of course I love to find new flavors.

I decided the other day when I saw a lip making kit for $30 at Michaels (only makes 5 small pots of lip balm - so really expensive) to try making it myself.  I did some research and found this great post!! http://www.notmartha.org/tomake/lipbalm/

This one pretty much did it for me, so I went to Mountain Sage and bought some of their Lip solutions, some of the containers and started to make the lip balm!  I had read that it was pretty easy and guess what? It is!  I have found a new hobby, not quite an addiction yet, I only have 3 flavors now...with 5 on their way..ok I am getting a bit addicted to this.

Did I mention that my dds love to make it with me and we did up some fun labels and these pics are the results!!
My Lime Lip Balm

My Grapefruit Lip Balm
So if you love to make things, I would definitely suggest you give lip balm making a try. The Lip solutions are great to use, no fussy measuring, just melt some, add some flavour, coloring and pour.

Great to give as gifts too and if you need a card when giving this, you know where to find me :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chickpea Fries...so yummy!

This past summer, we tried some Chickpea Fries, I had never heard of them and was very curious to try them.  After my first bite, part of me was hoping the kids wouldn't like them so I could eat the rest...that never happened.  They loved them too.  I searched to find a recipe and came across Sara's Kitchen Blog.  Simple to make, less than 5 mins to prepare and then it needs to be refrigerated for a few hours before you fry them up.  

The main ingredient is chickpea flour, which more and more grocers are carrying these days, sometimes it is called garbanzo bean flour.  Basically you boil some water, add the chickpea flour and whisk constantly for 1-2min. Add the remaining ingredients (i.e spices/herbs), stir a bit more, take off the heat and pour into an 8 x 8 pan, let cool for a few minutes, cover and refrigerate for a few hours or up to 24hours.  

So easy, so good and gluten free!  Great change from the boring regular french fries and better for you.  I am going to try and bake the next batch as the frying part isn't the healthiest, but boy are they a good treat!  Check out Sara's blog for the full recipe and enjoy!

Update:  I baked a batch and they turned out great!  Brush each one with a bit of olive oil first, place them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10min each side.  Easy to make! Kids and DH loved them! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fun with playdough

How many times do I try to come up with something fun to do, that is quick, easy and won't make a huge mess!  This happens on a daily basis.  I am always thinking of what the next "art" project should be to keep my 3 monkeys entertained.  I recently came across this great playdough recipe that I thought I would share, it is from my dd teacher and it meets the criteria noted above.  

Kool-Aid Playdough
1 1/4 cup   Flour
1/4 cup     Salt
1pkg         Unsweetened Kool-Aid (just the powder, don't mix it into juice :))
1 cup        Boiling water
1 1/2 tsp   Vegetable Oil

In a bowl, mix flour, salt and Kool-Aid, then stir in the boiling water and oil.  Knead with hands for a out 5 mins (or put in your mixer using the dough handle).  Voila! Kool-aid in a fun color that smells great! Store in a Ziploc bag for up to 2 months.  

Successful recipe, happy mom and kids!  Give it a try!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Online shopping!

With 3 kids, shopping is a bit of an exercise in frustration. So I have become quite the savvy online shopper and usually manage to find some really great deals.  I especially love it when you I find a Canadian online store, get free shipping or coupons for free stuff or 75%.  

Well.ca is one I discovered recently and has much of the same products you would find in your London Drugs, but I can shop online 24/7, so the stress of shopping with kids is gone and shipping is free, it saves me the cost of gas and it is delivered relatively quickly.  Last order came within 3 days of ordering it and it comes to my door, not to the post office!! YIPPEE!!

They have a great all natural section so there is a large variety of products to choose from in this area which I love!  Did I mention I found an all natural fantastic deodorant...more about that in another post. 

Where are your favorite online shops to find great deals??
Until then, I humbly suggest you check out Well.ca too!