Wednesday, July 2, 2014

DIY All Natural Floor Cleaner


It’s a cleaning day at Casa Jen.  I’ll admit it – these types of days aren’t as common as they should be at my place (who has time for cleaning when there are important things like crafting and baking and other tornado-like-mess-making activities to be done?). But when I do clean, I REALLY clean… Like, scrubbing the floor down on my hands and knees with a toothbrush for the crevices. I’m kind of like Cinderella, except I wear sweatbands, sports bras, and scream showtunes (very poorly) at the top of my lungs.

I love the way our place looks after a good polishing, but the harsh chemicals in commercial cleaners were starting to sting my eyes, parch out my hands, and freak me out a little bit, so I hit the web and started searching for an all-natural floor cleaner recipe I could make at home. I experimented with the mix for a while and finally came up with my go-to blend of grime-fighting perfection!

Look at those floors! Spotless, I tell you! Your nitpicky mother-in-law would even eat off of those babies!


I have to say, this stuff RULES. It makes my floors shine like nothing else and leaves the whole house smelling fresh and clean. There is a bit of a vinegar smell at first, but it mellows out after a few minutes, especially if you use some good essential oils! I am a huge fan of lavender so that’s my favourite one to use, but I’ve also had good luck with orange and tea tree essential oil mixed together. Go nuts and develop your own signature concoction!

The peppermint tea in this is the real star, so don’t skip out on it! The tannic acid in the tea cuts through grease and grime and the mild antibacterial quality of the peppermint gives the mixture extra cleaning power.




Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 peppermint teabags
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup rubbing alcohol
  • ½ tsp dish soap
  • 5 drops essential oil (lavender, orange, tea tree, etc.)
  • Fine-mist spray bottle

Instructions
  • Combine 1 cup boiling water with two peppermint tea bags and let steep at least 10 minutes. Remove teabags and discard.
  • Mix brewed peppermint tea with remaining ingredients in a fine-mist spray bottle. Shake well to combine.
  • Sweep or vacuum the floor.
  • Spray cleaner on the floor (or other surface to be cleaned).
  • Wipe up with a microfiber cloth. 

Notes:
  • As with all cleaners you use, please be sure to do a spot test to see if this will work on your floors.
  • Try to shake the mixture a few times as you go so that the essential oils continue to stay blended. 
  • You can also try loading this mixture into your Swiffer mop (see a tutorial on how to refill the cartridges here), or use another mop with a refillable cleaner reservoir. This mixture can also be used in a Shark Steam Mop. 
  • Try the mixture on other surfaces too! I’ve used this stuff on countertops, windowsills, windows, and mirrors.
  • This stuff keeps for months so go ahead and make a big batch. I like to make mine when my big vinegar jug gets low enough to just toss the rest of the ingredients in and store it in there.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Honeydew Ginger Smoothie



Celebrate the arrival of spring with this fresh & green Honeydew Ginger Smoothie!  This is a super healthy bevvy, and downing one of these in the morning is a fantastic way to get hydrated, healthy, and energized for your day. This is a great green smoothie for beginners, since it’s packed with loads of nutrition while still being sweet and easy-drinking – I promise you cannot taste the spinach!

Ingredient Breakdown:

Honeydew Melon: Despite being sweet as candy, honeydew melon is a healthy, low-calorie choice. The sweet flesh is packed full of Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin B-6, and both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Spinach: These lovely green leaves are loaded with good-for-you nutrients including iron, calcium, vitamin K, and folate. Spinach is also packed with flavonoids which act as antioxidants and protect the body from free radical damage.

Ginger: This aromatic and spicy root is so soothing when combined with the honeydew melon! It’s also great for curbing cravings, eliminating nausea, and reducing inflammation in the body.

Hemp Hearts: Hemp hearts, or shelled hemp seeds, have a very high and diverse nutritional content. They are a complete protein, contain essential fatty acids, and are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals. The combination of calories, complex carbohydrates and protein in hemp hearts has been shown to provide long-lasting energy.



Ingredients:

2 cups honeydew melon, chunked
1 banana
1 handful fresh spinach
½ cup almond milk
½ cup vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
1 tbsp hemp hearts
4 ice cubes

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender, with the honeydew at the bottom. Blend until smooth (you may have to add a little more almond milk or some coconut water to thin it out to your liking). Serve cold and enjoy!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Homemade Whipped Body Butter



Lately I’ve been trying to be a bit more conscious about what I put into and onto my body, and that means reading lots of labels! It can get really confusing, especially when I have no idea what most of the ingredients are or what they do. So instead of fussing over the meaning of “carbomethylmetalloformadehyate 15” (yes, I made that up…) I’ve decided to try to make a few of my own beauty products from simple, natural ingredients and see how it goes!

I’m very excited to be sharing this recipe for Homemade Whipped Body Butter with you! This is the most perfect, delectable treat for winter whipped skin. It is unlike a typical body butter because it melts right on to your skin with your body heat – it feels a little greasy at first, but then your parched and leathery hide will start to drink it right up and all you’ll be left with is even-toned, baby-soft skin! The chocolaty smell of this stuff is also so addictive. I love putting it on after a bath and right before bed, so that I slide into the sheets feeling like a soft, buttered up little cupcake!

Ingredient Breakdown:

Cocoa Butter comes from the cocoa bean, and (surprise, surprise) smells deliciously chocolaty. It is a rich emollient and leaves your skin super soft. It contains lots of nice fatty acids which help to retain moisture and build up the elasticity of your skin. Cocoa butter also has properties which can help ease dermatitis or rashes.

Coconut Oil has antioxidant properties that protect the skin from free radical damage. It is also chock full of fatty acids, which help build and strengthen your skin-cell structures, keeping the skin’s connective tissues strong and supple (which helps to prevent sagging and wrinkles!) It absorbs really nicely into the skin too.

Sweet Almond Oil is a wonderful emollient that will smooth and soften your skin. It is also rich in vitamins and is more easily absorbed into the skin than some other oils.



Ingredients:
100g cocoa butter
100g coconut oil
50g sweet almond oil

Method:

1. Weigh out the three ingredients in a small, heatproof bowl (you may need to chop up your cocoa butter first, if it came in one big lump)



2. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir until all the solids are completely melted.



3. Once melted, place the bowl in the fridge or freezer to solidify again. You don’t want it to be completely rock hard – you should still be able to make an indent with your finger if you press into the mixture.



4. Whip the mixture with a handheld or stand mixer until fluffy, glossy, and ivory in colour.



5. Transfer to an airtight container and enjoy! 



Tips:
  • If you overwhip your body butter, it may start to liquefy again – don’t worry! Just stick it back in the freezer to harden up and try again – this stuff is very forgiving.
  • You should be able to store your body butter for a good while without it going rancid, since all of the ingredients have a long shelf life. However, use your common sense and chuck it if it starts to smell or look funny!
  • If you keep your house on the warmer side, your body butter may start to liquefy or separate in the container – if this happens, just re-whip it and store it in a cooler spot, like the fridge.
  • Add in a few drops of your favourite essential oils to create your own unique scent! I imagine the natural essence of the cocoa butter would pair really well with lavender, orange, or peppermint essential oils!
  • This stuff also works amazingly well as a shaving cream!