Homemade Pain Relieving Gel – Safe and Non-Toxic

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Last week, I woke up and realized that I am getting old!  Somehow, I managed to sleep wrong (is that even a thing?), and I woke with a major kink on the right side of my neck/trap muscle.  OUCH!  I tried stretching it, heating it with a grain bag, massaging it, etc. but it just wouldn’t give!

Because I had a busy day in front of me, I knew I needed something that could dull the pain while this thing calmed down.  I don’t do pain relievers such as ibuprofen unless it is a dire emergency, so I tried to think of something to use that would help throughout the day.  Icy hot/Ben Gay came to mind, but I wasn’t sure about the ingredients in them.  Thankfully, I knew about the EWG (Environmental Working Group) website.

The EWG website’s skin deep cosmetic guide is a great tool to figure out if any beauty product or ingredient is safe.  The following pin gives some useful facts and links to the website.

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I hopped on my computer and within a couple of minutes, I discovered that those Icy Hot/Ben Gay products aren’t too great…I’ve seen worse, but I knew I could do better.  I looked at the main ingredients, and saw menthol and camphor as a common ingredient.  Both of these have an excellent safety rating on the site so I figured why not make my own pain relieving cream/gel with these as my main ingredients?

Guess what?  It worked!!!  Both in that the recipe turned out great – it’s safe and non-toxic, and it helped to relieve my pain throughout the day as long as I reapplied as needed.  I am also happy to report that the kink finally let up a few days later, and I’m doing much better now.  I’m so glad that I now have this cream/gel recipe on hand for any future incidents that may arise!  It is perfect for runners as it will soothe away any soreness after a great workout!  Heck, it’s perfect for anyone that gets minor aches and pains here and there!

HOMEMADE SAFE AND NATURAL PAIN RELIEVING GEL

Ingredients (I made a small batch since I knew I would only need a little bit.  This recipe makes about 2 ounces of gel, but you can easily double or even triple the recipe to make more):

Directions:

1.) In a small sauce pan, completely melt the coconut oil and beeswax pellets over medium heat.  Remove from heat and add the camphor oil, eucalyptus oil, and menthol crystals.  Stir till completely dissolved. Pour into a glass container.

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2.) Allow to sit until it solidifies (About an hour or so).

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Rub into those painful areas an get ready for some sweet (and safe) relief! Enjoy! 🙂

Gluten Free Zucchini Bread

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I don’t know about you, but I love Zucchini bread!  Not only for the taste, but also because it has ZUCCHINI, and zucchini has loads of health benefits, some of which are shown in the following pin!

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SO many health benefits!  This zucchini bread recipe is gluten free, and is so yummy!  It tastes great with a bit of soft goat cheese or almond butter spread on top.  I love that zucchini bread is still on the table even if you are gluten free!

GLUTEN FREE ZUCCHINI BREAD

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 2 Tbsp. Honey
  • 2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of stevia
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • sprinkle of sea salt

Directions

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a bread pan and then line it with parchment paper hanging over the sides.

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2.) Place your shredded zucchini in a fine meshed sieve and put the sieve over a bowl.  Press down on the zucchini to get rid of as much moisture as possible.

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3.) In a large bowl, mash the banana.  Add the eggs, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla.  Stir until completely combined.  Stir in the coconut flour, cinnamon, stevia, baking soda, nutmeg, and sea salt.  Stir until completely combined and fairly smooth.  Stir in the zucchini.

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4.) Transfer to your prepared bread pan, and use a spoon to smooth the top.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.  Use the edges of the parchment paper to pull the bread out of the bread pan and place on a plate to cool.

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5.) Slice using a knife and serve!

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Yay!!!  It’s gluten free zucchini bread!!! YUM!  Enjoy! 🙂

Chopped Veggie Dill & Sardine Salad

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Alright, guys!  Once again, I am giving a shout out to sardines!  I know that every time I write a post with a sardine recipe, I go on and on about how fantastic these tiny guys are, but I only do this because it’s true!!!  The following pin links to a site that explains 20 health benefits of Sardines.

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Some of these benefits include the following.

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Helps relieve depression and anxiety
  • Helps control blood sugar
  • Prevents blood clots
  • Prevents heart disease
  • Promotes healthy brain function

And that’s only 6 in this list of 20, and the list of 20 is only 20 in the loads and loads of health benefits that this fish provides!  If you haven’t been convinced to try them with my past posts, then hopefully this salad will get you on the sardine bandwagon!

This salad is SO yummy!  Loaded with veggies, sardines, and a healthy dill dressing, the nutrition in this thing is out of this world!  Best part?  It’s a salad, so it’s beyond simple to make!

CHOPPED VEGGIE DILL & SARDINE SALAD

Ingredients – makes one salad…feel free to use more or less of a certain ingredient – it’s up to you!

  • 2 cups baby spinach, finely chopped.
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, cored and finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped red onion
  • 1 tin of boneless and skinless sardines (in water), drained
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • sea salt, to taste

Directions

1.) Layer your spinach, cucumber, tomato, and onion on a plate.  Toss to combine.

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2.) In a bowl, combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and dill.  Stir to combine.  Add the sardines to the bowl, and mash up with a fork.  Stir to combine.  Add the sardine and dill mixture to the salad.

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3.) Season with sea salt and mix well.

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You’ve gotta try this!!!  It’s SO yummy and SO good for you!  Enjoy! 🙂

Chicken and Veggies in a Flash

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If you follow my blog at all, you know that I normally cook with fresh produce.  However, every so often, I’ll either be too busy or just feeling a bit lazy, and I want something super easy and quick without having to sacrifice nutrition.  This recipe meets this criteria perfectly!

I was actually hesitant to post this, just because it’s SO easy and simple.  However, it tastes great, and it is perfect when you just don’t have a ton of time to prepare dinner, so I decided to go ahead and put it on here!

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Of course, fresh veggies are always best, but frozen veggies are a close second.  You may have heard that frozen dinners aren’t good for you because of all the additives, etc.  Well, you heard right!  Processed frozen dinners are not good, however frozen veggies are just veggies that have been frozen.  There’s no added ingredients to make them any less healthy (of course, some frozen veggie packages do include other ingredients, so always check the label), so they are perfect for when you don’t have fresh veggies on hand…Especially when they are organic!  As an extra bonus, they are usually pretty cheap, so they’re a great bargain.

One more thing – this is a one pan meal, so clean up is a cinch!  Okay, enough touting frozen veggies (or secretly justifying this super simple recipe, so I don’t feel silly for posting it)!  Let’s talk recipe!

CHICKEN AND VEGGIES IN A FLASH

Ingredients: makes 2 servings

  • 1 large boneless and skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 bag of frozen vegetable medley of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. of each: garlic granules, dried basil, dried oregano, dried parsley, or you can just use 1 tsp. of Italian seasoning.
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.) In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the chicken, seasonings, and onion and cook until the chicken is cooked through (about 7-8 minutes).

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2.) Add the frozen vegetables and a small amount of water (about 1/4 cup) to the frying pan.  Cover and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are completely cooked.

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3.) Transfer to plates and season with sea salt and pepper.

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Told you it was embarrassingly easy!  But, hey, still super good for you and tastes delicious, and that’s what matters most!  Enjoy! 🙂

Zucchini and Veggie Fritters

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You guys are gonna love me for sharing this recipe!!!  I made these for breakfast the other morning, and they are to die for!  Plus, they are easy to make, and I don’t know about you, but I always like a nice easy breakfast since I’m not much of a morning person!

So, these fritters…not only are they so tasty, but they are also really good for you!  They are packed full of zucchini, peppers and green onion.  The following pins explain some awesome health benefits that each of these veggies provide!

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Yeah, so you’re getting all these health benefits in something that tastes amazing…ummmm, I’m sold!

ZUCCHINI AND VEGGIE FRITTERS

Ingredients

  • 2 cups grated zucchini (about 3 small zucchinis shredded)
  • 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Plain greek yogurt

Directions

1.) Prepare your zucchini by shredding it, then place it in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl.  Sprinkle it with some sea salt and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.  After it has sat for that time, press down on the zucchini squeezing out as much moisture as possible.

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2.) In a medium mixing bowl, add the eggs and whisk until smooth.  Add the zucchini, bell pepper, onion, flour, thyme, paprika, and sea salt.  Stir to combine completely.

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3.) In a large frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add three large spoonfuls of the mixture to the pan (the mixture should make about 8 fritters total), and flatten with a spatula.  Allow the fritter to cook for 2-3 minutes on one side, then use the spatula to flip the fritter to the other side and allow it to cook for another 2-3 minutes on that side.  Transfer to a plate.  Repeat this process, for the rest of the mixture, until you’ve made all your fritters.

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4.) Transfer your fritters to a plate and top with a dollop of plain greek yogurt, if desired.

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Ah!  My new favorite!  YUM!  Enjoy! 🙂

Hearty and Healthy Cauliflower and Chicken Chowder

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I’m pretty sure I could eat this everyday for the rest of my life and be a happy camper!  Wow, this cauliflower and chicken chowder is tasty!  I was having a hard time figuring out what to make for dinner.  Grocery shopping day is tomorrow, so it’s slim pickings over here until then.  I went in the fridge and saw that I had cauliflower, onion, carrots, a little bit of goat cheese, a little bit of almond milk, and chicken.  Then I looked in my cupboard and saw garlic.  Poof!  Instant meal idea!

With cauliflower as one of the main ingredients in this recipe, it is SO good for you!

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I also did a little trick of putting half of the vegetables in a food processor once they were cooked and leaving half as they were.  This makes for a creamy but chunky texture that really hits the spot!  Oh!  And did I mention that this stuff is DELICIOUS?  Let’s see here, good for you, check! Delicious, check!  Super hearty and filling, check!  Super easy to put together, check!  I’m not seeing any negatives here, and neither will you once you try this stuff!

CAULIFLOWER AND CHICKEN CHOWDER

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese (or you can use cream cheese if you don’t like goat cheese)

Directions:

1.) Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the chicken, and cook for 50 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the water and shred into bite size pieces.  Set the chicken and the water you cooked the chicken in aside.

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2.) In a large pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, and garlic.  Let simmer for a 3-5 minutes.  Add the cauliflower, almond milk, oregano, pepper, and sea salt.  Bring to a boil and let cook for about 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.

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3.) Transfer 1/2 of the cooked vegetables to a food processor, leaving the other half in the pot.  Process on high until smooth.

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4.) Put the mashed vegetables back in the pot with the unmashed vegetables.  Add the chicken, goat cheese, and 1/2 cup of the water you cooked the chicken into the pot as well. Heat over medium heat and stir until the cheese is melted and all is combined into a creamy mixture of yumminess!  You can add more or less of the chicken water to get your desired consistency of chowder.

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5.) Transfer to a bowl.  Drizzle with some olive oil, if desired, and serve.

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The answer is yes, it’s as good as it looks!  Enjoy! 🙂

DIY Non Toxic Sunscreen and Bug Repellent Cubes

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So, the other day, I was getting ready to go for a hike.  I applied my homemade sunscreen and my homemade bug spray.

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As I was doing so, I got to thinking that it would be great if I could just do this in one step, because well, I’m lazy.  During my hike, I came up with the idea of making these sunscreen and bug repellent cubes, and I love them!  They’re so easy to make, and even easier to apply.  You simply rub it on your skin and massage in.  Wa-la!  You’re protected from both burning and bug bites!

The essential oils in these cubes are the same oils I use in my homemade natural bug spray.  They work great to keep the creepy crawlies away, and they are non-toxic as opposed to many of the chemicals in traditional bug sprays.

I’m not certain on the SPF of these.  It depends on how much Zinc Oxide powder you use in the recipe, but the ingredients of coconut oil, zinc oxide powder, and carrot seed oil all have SPF properties.  If I were to guess, I would say these bars are anywhere from 15SPF – 50SPF…yeah, that really narrows it down.

What I can tell you for sure is the following:

1.) It works!  I applied it before going for a 7 mile hike in the hot San Antonio sun today, and I stayed burn free and bug free the whole way!

2.) It’s natural and non-toxic!  All of the ingredients are not harmful like the chemicals in most store bought sunscreens and bug repellents.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sold!  I love this stuff, and I bet you will too if you give it a try!

Quick note before we get started – cleanup after making this can be a bit cumbersome, because the oil and shea butter can be hard to get rid of (great for the actual cube, because it won’t just sweat off right away, but not so great for cleaning it off of pans, etc.).  My suggestion is using a paper towel to wipe everything down right after you get your mold filled.  Then use hot water with soap to wash completely.  Basically, clean it before it dries…except the mold that the bars need to harden in, of course. 🙂

HOMEMADE SUNSCREEN AND BUG REPELLENT CUBES

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin, unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup shea butter
  • 1/2 cup beeswax pellets
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. non-nano zinc oxide powder
  • about 5 drops of each of the following essential oils: lavender, rose geranium, white thyme, carrot seed oil, and citronella

Directions:

1.) In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax pellets over medium heat until completely melted.

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2.) Remove from heat and add the zinc oxide powder and the essential oils.  Stir until the powder is completely dissolved.

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3.) Carefully spoon the mixture into a silicone mold.  My silicone mold is of 1 inch cubes, but  you could use any shape.  This recipe made 12 – 1 inch cubes.

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4.) Allow to harden completely.  You can put it in the fridge to speed things up, but it will harden pretty quickly regardless.  Once hardened, push the bottom of each mold to remove each cube.

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5.) Store in a cool place in a glass jar.  To apply, just rub onto skin and then massage in.

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Yeah, double protection in just one step!  Enjoy! 🙂