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???
Learn more about essential oils!
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?
Planet Friendly Ways to Keep Pups and People Healthy and Happy
One of the things I have been researching lately is green puppy care. We don’t actually have a puppy yet but hope to get one someday soon. I grew up with dogs but I never much considered green issues and I pretty much let them play with or eat what you could buy at big box stores. Now of course I know from having children that much of what mainstream America is peddling is unsafe and it is also true of products for pets. When you have pets you want to avoid harsh chemicals in your home, unhealthy “junk” dog food, and puppy toys with chemical nasties. The planet friendly pet offerings these days have increased greatly. You just have to wade through it all…
Cleaning Up After Your Pet
This is my big issue with pets and the reason why we have not had one in a very long time. I cannot stand dog hair and pet messes. So I decided that when we do get a dog it will have to be one with short hair and no undercoat. I am also putting this off until my kids are older and able to help with care and cleanup. We are getting there but at least we have the safe, green cleaning part covered. We use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap for most cleaning, including cleaning our carpets. We use that and vinegar for our hard floors in the kitchen, along with a spray mop. When we have puppy messes using these methods will get the job done just fine without toxic cleaning products and we can sprinkle baking soda over spots so that they won’t smell.
Avoid Conventional Pet Food
This is a billion dollar industry and if we are to believe the deceptive advertising and photos on pet food bags then we might think our dogs are getting choices cuts of meat and other nutrient dense foods with every meal. In actuality the pet food industry is just an extension of the people food industry and pets get the “waste” that is unfit for human consumption. Many people are now trying to avoid anything produced within our nasty factory farming industry and yet this is what many choose to feed their pets. If we are eating that stuff we are eating the worst the industry has to offer, and our pets are eating the worst of the worst. Is it any wonder that many of the dominant pet food companies have been involved in pet food recalls that sickened and/or killed many pets? I think not.
Healthy, organic, raw pet food will help your dog with skin ailments, allergies, immunity issues, digestive disorders, and better overall health. Some good brands include Paw Naturaw, Primal Pet Foods, and the pastured raw pet foods from Tropical Traditions. Those options are all pricey but I am not sweating this because dogs do best on a primal diet like what we eat in this house already so we will likely make our own dog food. Dogs should NOT be eating dog food with grains, corn, wheat, and rice. They are carnivores, not vegetarians.
Natural Flea Control
If this becomes an issue make sure to look for a natural flea control option. Conventional flea collars and products have lots of chemical nasties in them. They are not safe for animals and not for the humans exposed to them either. Instead try cleaning and vacuuming often and launder pet bedding weekly. Use a flea comb daily and bathe them often with a natural shampoo like Cloud Star’s Buddy Wash. It has coconut oil and essential oils. You can also make your own flea collar by applying a carrier oil (like almond oil or neem) mixed with some essentials oils (cinnamon, rosemary, clove, peppermint) to their existing collar. You can make a spray by mixing some neem oil with some castile soap and spray it on their coat when fleas rear their ugly little heads. A DIY flea powder can be made using crushed herbs like rosemary, fennel, and eucalyptus. What you can make at home will likely be safer and more cost effective too. Other ideas include keeping grass cut short and buying nematodes at a pet store or garden store to reduce the flea population. There are plenty of natural options beyond the chemical ones you find at your vet’s office.
Planet Friendly Dog Toys
Just as with kids toys, lots of pet toys have BPA, PVC, lead, dyes, and other nasties. Instead of those buy toys made of natural rubber, rope, hemp, and organic cotton. The Simply Fido Bamboo Plush Rope Dog Toy is adorable and comes in many designs and colors. Also West Paw Design has many eco toys for dogs that use their Zogoflex material. It is plastic but it is also fully recyclable and built to last for as long as it is serving as a dog toy. These toys do not contain any known sources of lead, cadmium, mercury, latex, phthalates, hormones, Bisphenol A, or asbestos.
Reader Lysa submittedd this tip in regards to greener shew toys/food:
We give our dog naturally fallen deer antlers as chew toys. We’re lucky to have them available naturally but know that they can be purchased at reputable animal supply shops (feed type shops, not pet stores.) They are very nutritious and last a long time.
These are some important issues to consider when you have a family dog or plan to get one. For more ideas check out my article on Green Pet Products and Supplies. It has ideas for green bedding, bamboo collars, and eco cat condos. Enjoy and hug those puppies!