I have been using essential oils for almost 20 years now, ever since I was a teenager. Back then I wouldn’t have pegged myself as an environmentalist, naturalist, or anything resembling a proponent of green and natural living but essential oils kind of resonated with me. It was a first step maybe?
I lived near a large strip mall and I was able to walk to all the stores and shop whenever I wanted, which was often. Back then I LOVED to shop (as most teens do). One of my favorite places was the bookstore, which was literally only a 2-3 minute walk from my house. It was there that I picked up a copy of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. I am not sure what motivated me to buy it, but it looked interesting and perhaps a bit new-agey, which appealed to me. I took it home and fell in love with it. Soon after I was hitting up health food stores so I could buy essential oils and make all the marvelous concoctions found in the book. It had everything… a treatment for acne, a remedy for my menstrual cramps, even recipes for lifting a bad mood. I felt like I was delving into witchcraft and brewing up magic elixirs. Perhaps it was because I had never ever heard about essential oils before I picked up that book. It opened up a whole new world. 20ish years later I am still using them, daily.
I have over the years tried many different brands too, some better than others. Lately I have been psyched with the oils from Plant Therapy. They sent me a boxed set of 14 different oils to try a few weeks back and I have been putting them to good use. Here are a few of the ways I have used them…
Bergamot – Made a carpet freshener with baking soda and sprinkled it in the bedroom to help with mood. My bedroom is my relaxation zone and frequently where I spend my evenings, along with a good book.
Clary Sage – Used a few drops on a warm washcloth that I then lay across my forehead before bed, to help with sleep, which does not come easily for me some nights.
Cinnamon Bark – Used it in homemade toothpaste.
Eucalyptus – Used it to clean the bathroom after stomach flu went through the household.
Pink Grapefruit – Used it in the shower for a mood boost.
Lime – Used it to clean and de-stink the refrigerator. Yuck! Smells good now though. :)
Peppermint & Spearmint – Gave everyone a spring lift by making a carpet freshener with these two oils. Winter is dragging on but you cannot help but feel good when the house smells like mint!
Lemon – I keep a spray bottle with lemon and pink grapefruit oils in it for quick spraying around the oven and backsplash after I have used my cast iron skillet and sprayed coconut oil everywhere. It cuts the grease.
Tea Tree – I use this oil in the laundry almost daily for towels and sweaty gym clothes.
As far as quality goes, these oils are up there with the best. I also love the brand name because EOs really do allow you to harness the power of plants for therapy and personal use. I would not hesitate to buy more of these and I really want to try some of their blends in the future, which are basically just combinations of different complimentary oils to be used for all sorts of things from germ fighting, to cleaning, to therapeutic uses. The oils are 100% pure, undiluted and therapeutic grade. They are also very reasonable in price and this may be in small part because they are not sold via an MLM pyramid scheme (as many EOs are) meant to make the sellers a hefty profit. You get to pocket the savings.
If you have never used essential oils I highly suggest picking up a how-to book (like the one I mentioned above) and trying a few recipes. It seems like it is intimidating but really it’s not. Once you start, you may just fall down the rabbit hole.
I recently asked the followers on my Natural Family Living Facebook page for some insight into what essential oils they use and what they use them for? I wanted to see what some common uses were and if any creative and new-to-me ideas popped up. I was so impressed with the range of answers that I have decided to share the info here. There are so many every day, practical uses for essentials oils it blows my mind! The power of plants indeed!
My question was “What’s the last essential oil you used? What did you use it for?”
Some of the answers…
Peppermint for headache
Lavender for homemade baby wipes
Rosemary for homemade dish soap
Lavender for a stuffed nose / head cold
Melaleuca in the nostrils to prevent a cold
Sweet orange mixed in baking soda to freshen carpets
Lavender to help mom and child sleep
Tea tree for cleaning
Lavender for a cooking burn
Lavender for seasonal allergies
Clove oil for a toothache
Roman chamomile for relaxation
Tea tree oil for acne
Eucalyptus for cleaning
Peppermint for homemade toothpaste
Lemon to fill a diffuser
Oregano oil to combat a cold
Geranium in the steam room at the gym
Peppermint for lotion and scenting sheets
Eucalyptus for clearing sinuses
Lavender for teething
Eucalyptus in the bath for aches and pains
Rosemary and tea tree for an all purpose spray cleaner
Rosemary and black pepper for muscle aches
Clove oil with vinegar mopping the floor
Thieves for a cold sore and to freshen breathe
Rose hip seed in moisturizer for an anti- aging omega boost
Peppermint in my homemade all purpose cleaner
Patchouli for the wash
Thieves oil on the feet before bed to combat a fever
Lavender to relax in the tub
Lemon for cleaning
Thieves and eucalyptus for a chest cold
Lavender for homemade body butter
Eucalyptus and coconut oil on feet at night to helping with coughing
Teat tree in the cloth diaper bin
Wild orange in the diffuser for calming
Orange to keep the cat off the bed
Peppermint and tea tree to soak cloth diapers in after a rinse, but before the wash
Peppermint for nausea
Lavender in the dryer, instead of using dryer sheets
Thieves for disinfecting after illness
Tea tree for athletes foot
Orange oil to make hand soap
Peppermint and eucalyptus in a rock fountain to freshen air
Orange for homemade cleaning supplies
Tamanu for skin rash/eczema
Tea tree oil to prevent bed bugs
What oils have you used lately???
To purchase essential oils try Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon. For information I recommend The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. I got this book when I was 20ish years old. Loved it then and love it now.
We have been baking up a storm in this house.
My urge to heat up the oven and make a Pumpkin Soufflé started when I came across this recipe on Balanced Bites. It’s a super easy Soufflé recipe that we all loved. After that initial foray we modified it a bit, adding more maple syrup and even adding a maple flavored cream cheese. Delish!
We used our own homemade pumpkin puree too.
It can’t get any easier than this recipe, that is for sure, but the it didn’t feel or look like a Soufflé technically…which requires dividing your egg whites and whipping them. Our Pumpkin Soufflé didn’t get very high and airy and they deflated pretty fast. I still plan to make them often though because they are so super easy and fast. Plus they taste wonderful. I did want to try to make a more conventional Soufflé though.
Our next baking adventure was a…
Sweet Potato Soufflé
We started by cooking up some sweet potatoes and mashing them with butter and maple syrup. This was breakfast actually and we had enough leftover for a lunchtime Soufflé. And excellent way to get rid of leftovers if you ask me!
Ingredients: (makes 3)
1 cup mashed sweet potato
4 eggs (yolks and whites divided)
1/4 c grass fed butter
2 T almond butter
4 T maple syrup (1 tablespoon reserved for egg whites)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 T coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t pumpkin pie spice
Mix wet ingredients together (minus the egg whites). Combine the dry ingredients and sift them together well. Add to the wet ingredients and mix.
In a separate bowl whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until they form a soft peak. Add the reserved 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to the egg whites and continue to beat them until they form a stiff peak (this takes some time). Fold the egg white mixture into the base. Pour into individual size ramekins and cook at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Eat while warm and enjoy!
We have been eating sweet potatoes regularly of late and often times when I make up a batch of mashed sweet potatoes I have extra on hand to use in other recipes later in the week. Sometimes we reheat them on a griddle for breakfast or we make sweet potato pancakes with coconut flour and goat cheese. Yesterday though I decided to add some leftover mashed sweet potatoes to some grain free banana bread and see how it turned out. The results were quite delicious and the addition of sweet potato helped to cut down on the “graininess” from the coconut flour.
I think this is going to become a regular treat in our house from now on and perhaps even replace my pre-workout Larabars, since I am trying to reduce processed foods and needless packaging. The texture is very dense and soft and it has a bit of sweetness but not nearly as much as conventional banana bread. My kiddos all love it, with the exception of my youngest, who hates coconut. I feel good giving this to them for breakfast for some good brain food.
Sweet Potato Banana Bread With Coconut Flour
1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup mashed sweet potatoes
3 very ripe bananas
4 pastured eggs
6 T grassfed butter or coconut oil (melted)
2 T ground flax seeds
1/4 Cup chopped walnuts (optional)
3 T raw honey
2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 T vanilla
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix wet and dry ingredients together in separate bowls. Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet and mix together well. Pour into a well greased or parchment paper lined loaf pan. Cook for one hour and 20 minutes. Allow to cool and serve slathered with grassfed butter. Yum!
One of the things I miss about living in the Southwest is the fact that we never, ever had to deal with things like mildew and stinky towels. As a child, bathing suits and towels could be tossed on the carpet all willy nilly and only an hour or two later they would be crunchy and bone dry. Mildew didn’t stand a chance. Later when I was cloth diapering my babes I had the luxury of being able to let the diapers sit in the diaper pail for a week or longer with no smell and no mildew. The first time I tried that after moving to Ohio…well let’s just say it didn’t end well. There was a noxious smell, there was mildew, and there were bugs. Argh!
We also learned that you don’t leave wet bathing suits and towels lay around and every so often your towels start to smell mildewy no matter if you wash and dry them on hot repeatedly. The first time this happened we ended up throwing them out because I thought it was hopeless without the use of something harsh like bleach. Well, we started to notice the same issue with our towels recently and since so many are organic and/or a super luxurious bamboo I did not want to throw them out. Didn’t want to bleach them either. Time to get creative!
With some tips from my Natural Living Facebook community I had a game plan, and it worked! Yay for clean smelling towels!! But why in the heck do they get stinky in the first place?? We do let our towels sit wet in the bathroom between showers/baths so that doesn’t help, even though they are on a hanging rack. I also think that they have a tendency to get stinky for the same reason cloth diapers do…a detergent buildup. Cloth diapers need to be “stripped” every so often to get rid of detergent scum/buildup and so do towels.
How to Get Rid of the Mildew Smell in Bath Towels
- Wash with hot water, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 10 drops tea tree oil
- Rinse with 1 cup vinegar
- Repeat wash/rinse (tea tree oil optional for the 2nd go round)
- Dry on hottest setting or dry outside in direct sunlight
This method worked wonders for me! Even after using the same towel over several days, no mildew smell. Now I just need to use this method every time I wash towels over the next 1-2 weeks to make sure I got them all.
Do you ever have this issue? How do you handle it?