Nothing is as quick and delicious as having a nice lunch made ahead of time. One of my favorites is to make up salads in Mason canning jars, store in the refrigerator and grab when ready to leave for work. All you do is pack the most solid things into the jar first and then end it with the lettuce or most light weight. I do not use salad dressings on my salad so no use for me to put that into the jar first (you can if you like and it would go on the bottom of the jar) that way when you pour the salad into a plate or bowl the dressing comes out last. I also do not recommend putting broccoli and cauliflower into the jars unless it will be eaten within a 2 day time frame. The smell is overwhelming from the cabbage family of items. I have made these lots of times and they have kept for up to 7 days in the refrigerator. Be sure to air dry all veggies after washing and allow to dry completely before packing into the jars.
Sugar is a natural source of glycolic acid. Glycolic acid boosts new cell production and breaks down the protein that keeps the dead cells hanging onto your skin. Pure can sugar crystals work best, like this one. Mix the sugar crystals with your favorite massage oil (olive, jojoba, grapeseed, almond, etc.) to make a paste. Scrub on your face in a circular motion, rinse, wash as usual.
Sea salt is full of trace minerals that rejuvenate your skin, stimulate cell growth, and help your skin retail moisture. A sea salt scrub is great for dry skin. Mix with lavender essential oil and/or your favorite massage oil (olive, jojoba, grapeseed, almond, etc.) to make a paste. Scrub on your face in a circular motion, rinse, wash as usual.
Oatmeal is a very gentle exfoliant, so it’s perfect for sensitive skin. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and is very moisturizing. Mix finely ground oatmeal with honey and/or kefir (you can also use yogurt or buttermilk). Scrub on your face in a circular motion, let sit for 15-30 minutes, rinse, wash as usual.
Kefir is like yogurt, but with a lot more beneficial bacteria (about 40 times more). Find out more about kefir here (and how to make it). You can use yogurt and still see benefits, but you will see better results using kefir. Kefir is a natural source of lactic acid that hydrates and soothes your skin. Apply to your face and let sit for 15-30 minutes, rinse, wash as usual. Your skin will be so soft and smoothe for several days.
Raw honey is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. It kills skin infections, including acne. Honey reduces inflammation and hydrates. Honey can be mixed with any of the other exfoliants mentioned here to boost the antioxidant and anti-bacterial benefits.
If you love the snappy taste of herb vinegar in your cooking, you’ll be happy to know that this infused herbal vinegar is a snap to make at home. Here is all you need:
Ingredients to Make Vinegar Infused with Herbs
You’ll need to start with fresh herbs, ideally picked from your organic garden. The types of herbs you use, and the combination, are up to you, as is the type of vinegars you use well that is up to you also. Some ideas for herbs are: basil, rosemary, thyme, dill, garlic and tarragon. The basic guideline is to use 3-4 sprigs of herb for 2 cups of vinegar. Also, you can use flowers, like nasturtium, that will give a peppery flavor to the vinegar. And, don’t forget about fruit infusions, as well. Which vinegar to use: Distilled white vinegar works well in infusions with delicately flavored herbs. Apple cider pairs well with fruit infusions. Wine and champagne combine well with subtle flavored herbs and light tasting fruits. Red wine vinegar pairs well with strong flavored herbs, like rosemary. I would not suggest using rice vinegar. Since it has a protein, it can allow bacteria into your infusion.
Steps to Making Herb Vinegar
Make sure to use nonreactive tools, like glass, plastic and wood. Do not use metal. 1. Wash, dry and prepare herbs or flowers. 2. Prepare sterile glass containers. 3. Make sure the vinegar is at least at room temperature. You can also warm the vinegar. 4. Place herbs or flowers in the glass jar and pour the room temperature vinegar over your collection of herbs. 5. Make sure air bubbles are out of the jar. 6. Seal it, and set it aside at room temperature for about two weeks. When you’re ready to use the vinegar, strain it through cheesecloth to remove the herbs, and enjoy. It’s a good idea to remove any strong flavors from the vinegar at four weeks.
Home made herbed vinegars are very easy to make and very unexpensive also. All you need is a canning jar with a lid, or you can purchase a decorative container like the ones in the photo. Either gather fresh herbs from your garden or purchase some differant types of herbs from your local Farm market or grocery produce department. Next you want to make sure your containers are clean and also wash the herbs. Place the herbs into your containers and then pour some apple cider vinegar over top. Seal the containers and allow to sit at least 5-7 days before using. I love to add some red hot peppers or even pepper corns to my vinegars for color and also taste. The vinegars can be used for salads, over meats or what ever you prefer. I also love to use mine tossed with fresh sliced cucumbers and tomatoes along with a little olive oil.
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 5 TBSP cocoa
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup water
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 stick butter
- 6 TBSP buttermilk
- 4 TBSP cocoa
- 1 box powdered sugar
- TO MAKE THE CAKE
- Preheat oven to 375
- Stir together sugar and flour.
- Combine cocoa, water and butter in saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Pour over sugar and flour mixture while hot and beat.
- Beat in eggs, buttermilk, soda and vanilla.
- Bake in greased sheet cake pan for 15 - 20 minutes
- TO MAKE THE ICING
- Put butter, buttermilk and cocoa in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and pour over sheet cake while the cake is still hot.