Spring Cleaning + Essential Oils

IMG_0657
Photo by Frances Logan Photography

One of the first ways I began using essential oils was to create my own cleaning products. After years of battling chronic migraines and completely changing my diet to help balance out my hormones and heal my gut, I began researching other things that might be endocrine disruptors (which can cause hormone imbalance). One of the things I kept seeing over and over again was that many of our typical household cleaning products are full of toxic chemicals that are harmful to our bodies. I desperately wanted to find an affordable way to clean my house without those products when a friend introduced me to essential oils.

Making your own cleaning products is super simple. You just need a few base ingredients (many of which you may already have) and some essential oils to get started.


Natural Cleaning Shopping List

  • Baking Soda: Instead of your typical cleaning spray, use baking soda. This is a well-known deodorizer, but it will also whiten surfaces and cut grease.
  • Liquid Castile Soap:  Combine with baking soda for an amazing tub scrub or add a few tablespoons to your mop water with a citrus essential oil. You can find this in your local health-food store and online. Unscented is usually best for most purposes.
  • Vinegar: cuts grease, deodorizes, and dissolves mineral deposits. To cut the smell, add in a few drops of Lemon essential oil.
  • Borax*: disinfects, whitens, cuts grease, and deodorizes.

*Although it is natural, borax is toxic when ingested, and can cause skin irritation. Keep away from children, pets, and food preparation areas. I use this one sparingly.


Essential Oils for Cleaning

You can use a variety of essential oils to cleanse, deodorize, and protect your home. Here is a list to get you started!*

  • Bergamot: antibacterial, antifungal
  • Cinnamon Bark: antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral
  • Clove: antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic
  • Cypress: antibacterial
  • Eucalyptus: antiviral, antibacterial, insecticidal, disinfectant
  • Lavender: antibacterial
  • Lemon: antiseptic, antibacterial, disinfectant, degreaser
  • Lime: antiseptic, antibacterial, disinfectant
  • Marjoram: antibacterial, antifungal
  • Melaleuca: antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral
  • Oregano: antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiviral, immunostimulant
  • Patchouli: antifungal, insecticide
  • Thyme: antiviral
  • Wild Orange: antiseptic

Note: Want to know how to get your hands on high-quality essential oils? Email me at somecallmecrunchy@gmail.com and I’ll share my favorite essential oils and how you can get them at wholesale price! 


All Purpose Spray: This basic spray is a great way to start and will clean just about every surface in your home!  

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. glass spray bottle
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1¾ cups distilled water
  • 30 drops essential oils

Recommended essential oil combinations:

  • 15 drops each of Lavender and Lemon
  • 10 drops each of Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Wild Orange
  • 15 drops each of Cypress and Lemon
  • 15 drops each of Grapefruit and Marjoram
  • 15 drops each of Thyme and Lemon

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to spray bottle.
  2. Shake thoroughly

Natural Cleaning in the Kitchen

Note: Use the All Purpose Spray above for countertops and surfaces.

  • Trash Can Deodorizer: Add 3-5 drops of a deodorizing essential oil (peppermint, clary sage, melaleuca, lavender, geranium, eucalyptus) to 1 TBS baking soda. Sprinkle into trash can.
  • Dishes: Add a few drops lemon and 5 drops white fir for sparkling dishes and a great smelling kitchen. You can add the essential oils to your dishwasher tabs as well. 
  • Fruit & Veggie Wash: Mix ½ cup apple cider vinegar, 3 drops lemon, and 3 drops Immune Blend (i.e. On Guard or Thieves) in a glass bowl. Add fruit and top with water until the fruit is covered. Let set for 5-10 minutes and then rinse.
  • Drain Cleaner: ¼ cup baking soda, ¼ cup white vinegar, 3 drops wild orange essential oil. Pour essential oil directly down drain followed by baking soda, and then vinegar. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Pour hot water down the drain, followed by cold water to unclog drains.
  • Sticker & Goo Remover: 1 Tablespoon baking soda, 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil, 2 drops lemon essential oil. Mix into a small glass bowl. Apply a small amount to the sticker or label and let sit for one to two minutes. Use a cloth or paper towel to remove. Apply again as needed.

Natural Cleaning in the Bathroom

  • Soap Scum Remover: 2 cups hot water, ¼-½ cup borax (or baking soda), 10 drops lemon essential oil. Add ingredients to spray bottle and shake well. Spray on affected areas and wipe dry.
  • Window & Mirror Cleaner: 2 cups distilled water, 2 Tablespoons white vinegar, 2 Tablespoons rubbing alcohol, 5 drops peppermint essential oil. Add ingredients to a spray bottle and shake well. Spray windows or mirrors and wipe dry. Store in a cool place for one to two months.
  • Disinfectant Cleaning Wipes: 12 thick and durable paper towels, 1 cup boiled and slightly cooled water, ½ cup white vinegar, ¼ cup rubbing alcohol, 5 drops lavender essential oil, 5 drops lemon essential oil. Cut paper towels in half and stack in a neat pile. Roll up and stuff into a quart sized wide mouth mason jar or a large ziplock bag. Mix ingredients and pour over paper towels. Put the lid on or zip and shake to moisten towels.
  • Mold & Mildew Preventer: 2 cups water, 30 drops melaleuca essential oil, 10 drops peppermint essential oil. Add ingredients to a spray bottle and shake well. Spray directly on mold or mildew. Do not rinse. Repeat daily or as needed.
  • Disinfecting Toilet Bowl Cleaner: ½ cup baking soda, ¼ cup white vinegar, 10 drops melaleuca essential oil. Mix ingredients to dissolve baking soda. Add to toilet. Let set for 5-15 minutes. Scrub with a toilet brush and flush.

Natural Cleaning in the Living Room/Bedroom

  • Natural Scratch Remover: 1 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar, 3 drops lime essential oil. Mix ingredients in a small bowl. Dip cloth into solution and rub onto wood surface. Rub on scratches until they disappear or on deeper scratches until they are managed. Buff away any residue with a dry cloth.
  • Leather Cleaner: ¼ cup olive oil, ½ cup regular vinegar, 3 drops eucalyptus. Mix the ingredients together in a spray bottle. Spray the leather down and wipe it clean with a cotton cloth. Note: This recipe is for regular leather, not suede.
  • Upholstered Fabric Cleaner: ¼ cup warm water, 2 teaspoons castile soap, 3 drops lime essential oil. Mix ingredients together in a container. Dip cloth in the mixture and dab onto the stain for quick spot treatments on any fabric.
  • Carpet Freshener: 2 cups baking soda, 10 drops lemon essential oil, 10 drops orange or grapefruit essential oil. Combine all ingredients in container. Sprinkle on carpet or rug and let sit for 15 minutes. Vacuum thoroughly.
  • Carpet Stain Remover: 4 cups warm water (divided), ½ teaspoon clear castile soap, 10 drops lemon essential oil. Mix 2 cups warm water, soap, and essential oil. Soak a rag in the mixture, wring out, and gently blot the stain. Use a clean rag soaked in the remaining two cups water to remove the residue. Alternate the soap solution with the fresh water until the stain is gone. Remember to blot, not rub, to remove carpet stains.
  • Hardwood Floor Cleaner: 1 gallon warm water, ½ cup distilled white vinegar, 3 drops lemon or orange essential oil. Mix water, vinegar, and oil in a large bucket or container. You can mop as normal or spray solution onto floor and mop up with a microfiber cloth.

Note/Credits: Many of these recipes are from The Essential Life book. I highly recommend adding it to your collection!

Eating in Charleston, Part 2

In my previous post about Charleston, I listed many of my go-to restaurants, coffee shops, etc. During some of my most recent trips, I really wanted to branch out a little and see what else Charleston had to over.  After doing a little research, I found that nestled on many side streets and off the beaten path, Charleston has even more to offer.  In this list you will find some of my new favorite breakfast, lunch, and coffee joints in the Charleston area that have made me fall in love with this city all over again.

Breakfast/Coffee Shops

  1. The Rise Coffee Shop: This coffee spot is located on Wentworth Street (close to King) and is part of The Restoration Hotel. I stumbled in one day while walking along King Street and ordered a Rosemary Rise Latte. THIS LATTE CHANGED MY LIFE. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but it is sooooo good. Get it iced or hot. Both are delicious!
  2. The Daily :This coffee shop/breakfast spot is located on Upper King and owned by the same people that own Butcher & Bee. They are “a neighborhood marketplace with top-notch coffee, breakfast, juice, smoothies, pastries, breads, wine, beer and grab-and-go provisions.” Go for the coffee (they brew Stumptown) and a freshly pressed juice!
  3. Butcher & Bee: I saved this one for last because I have declared it my absolute favorite spot in Charleston. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I’m partial to their breakfast. What to order:
    • Morning Glory: Start with this freshly pressed juice that includes orange, pineapple, local honey, ginger, and lavender. OMG. It is so good.
    • Espresso Tonic: Once you’ve enjoyed your juice, try this delicious iced coffee that really brings out the flavor notes in the coffee (like The Daily, they serve Stumptown Coffee).
    • Brown Rice Bowl: You absolutely can not walk out of this place without trying this. Brown rice is covered in seasoned vegetables, almond butter, and a poached egg. Sounds simple, right? It may be, but it is KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF GOOD.

Lunch

  1. Butcher & Bee: This place also shows up in my lunch section because it is also amazingly delicious and not too expensive (the dinner menu here is very good as well, but a little more pricey. For lunch I recommend the Double Cheeseburger (so, so good) or the Mezze Plate (get Bacon Wrapped Dates, Heirloom Beans, and Hummus).
  2. Minero: This is hands down the best taco spot I have EVER been to. It is a Sean Brock creation (creator/chef at Husk) and the tacos are unique and absolutely delicious. Go for the Chips & Salsa appetizer and the Catfish and Pastor tacos. Also, be sure to ask about their daily specials!
  3. Poe’s Tavern: Poe’s is located on Sullivan’s Island (plan to visit the beach while there) and is known for their burgers. Go for the Gold Bug Plus with goat cheese!

Dessert

  1. Sugar Bakeshop: This little bakeshop on Cannon Street specializes in small batch baking and has some pretty awesome cupcakes. Go for the Vanilla Blueberry, Almond Chocolate Coconut, or the Strawberry.
  2. Wildflour Pastry: This pastry shop is located on Spring Street and has a variety of baked goods available daily including scones, turnovers, cookies, sweet breads, and cakes. Go for the Strawberry Jam Scone or the Double Chocolate Cookie.

Bonus: Things to Do in the Area

  1. Take a candle-making at Candlefish.
  2. Visit the Angel Oak Tree (stop by Fat Hen for dinner on your way back).
  3. Carriage Tour (find them at the intersection of Market and East Bay).
  4. Walk the Battery & Waterfront Park
  5. Shopping on King Street
  6. Folly Beach
  7. Saturday Farmer’s Market (April-November)
  8. Visit Blue Bicycle Books 
  9. See a movie at Terrace Theatre

4 Simple Ways to Detox Your Home

img_0655
Photo by Frances Logan Photography. Cleaner products pictured from left to right: doTERRA OnGuard Foaming Hand Soap, Beautycounter Hand Cream, Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap, homemade all purpose cleaner using doTERRA essential oils 

Let’s face it. Detoxing your home can be overwhelming and figuring out where to start can be enough to make you want give up before you even begin. I’m often asked why I even bother trying to get rid of products with toxic ingredients. For me, my history of migraines is linked to hormonal issues and many of the toxic ingredients found in every day household products are actually endocrine disrupters. After cleaning up my diet, I decided that it was probably worth it to try and detox my home as well. I implemented a few things at a time and have over the years been able to get rid of many of the toxins that are known to be harmful for our bodies. If you are just beginning to detox your home, here are a few simple ways to get started.

  1. Remove Your Shoes: I’m going to be honest and tell you that this is one of the hardest things for me to implement. I love to host events at my home and getting everyone to take off their shoes is often nearly impossible. That being said, we do what we can and attempt to remove our shoes as soon as we walk in the door. It really is amazing how many chemicals and toxins we bring in via our shoes and implementing this can really go a long way to help prevent toxins from entering your home.
  2. Purify the Air: There are a few really great ways that you can purify the air in your home; adding green plants, purchasing an air purifier, and using a diffuser with essential oils that help clean the air (i.e. lemon, rosemary, frankincense). I prefer to add aloe vera and other succulent plants since these are pretty low maintenance. I’ve also heard great things about using pink himalayan salt lamps to detox the air, but having tried it personally.
  3. Eliminate Products with Harsh Chemicals: Some of the most important items with toxic chemicals to cut out include cleaning products and personal care products. I often use the Environmental Working Groups Database to help me determine which products include harmful chemicals.  They have guides for cleaning and cosmetics. These databases help you to see which products you want to eliminate from your home and also give healthy alternatives.
  4. Add in Healthier Alternatives: Making your own cleaning products is super simple. Using every day household ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils allows you to create and clean your home effectively. Using essential oils to clean also adds a really nice aroma to the process (and we all know that smells have the power to change our moods). I also make many of my own beauty care products (I sell them in my Etsy shop) that use all natural ingredients. If DIY is not your thing, using the above mentioned EWG Databases can help you to find clean products to replace your old cleaning products and cosmetics.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Don’t try to implement all of these things at once. Pick one at a time and make it a habit. Then move on to the next one.

What are some other things you do to detox your home? Please share in the comments!

 

Curry Chicken Salad

IMG_0574.JPG

I have been craving chicken salad hard core and this recipe by Mel Joulwan was exactly what I needed. I switched things up a bit from her original recipe (also found in her new cookbook Well Fed Weeknights) to make it a little easier, but it was still amazingly delicious! Serves 2-4.

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4–6 ounces each)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup all-natural mayonnaise (I like Sir Kensington)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1⁄2 lime

Fruit & nuts:

Salad:

  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 head Boston or butter lettuce
  • 1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach
  • 1⁄2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Cook the chicken. Smash and peel the garlic cloves and place them in a large saucepan. Add the chicken, water, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer on low, 15–20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the chicken sit in the hot water while you prep the salad.
  2. Make the dressing. Peel and crush the garlic cloves and place in a small, microwave safe bowl. Add the ghee, curry powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and ginger; microwave until melted, about 20 seconds. In a medium bowl, gently whisk together 1⁄3 cup mayo, the juice of the 1⁄2 lime, and the curry oil until smooth.
  3. Prep the fruit and nuts. Place the almonds and coconut in a dry, nonstick skillet and toast them over medium-high heat until golden, 3–4 minutes; transfer to a large mixing bowl. Peel and dice the apple, chop the cilantro, slice the celery and scallions; add them all to the mixing bowl. Add the dried cranberries and toss to mix.
  4. Finish the chicken. Remove the chicken from the hot water and place it in a shallow bowl in the freezer until it’s cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Cut the chicken into 1⁄2-inch cubes and add them to the bowl with the nuts and dried cranberries. Add the dressing and toss to combine.
  5. Make the salad bed. Wash the carrots and use a vegetable peeler to cut them into ribbons; place in a large mixing bowl. Tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and add it to the bowl, along with the spinach. Add the juice of the 1⁄2 lime, olive oil, salt, and pepper; toss well.
  6. To serve, place salad greens on serving plates and top with chicken salad.

Shepherd’s Pie

img_0430

Let me first apologize for the millions of years between blog posts (okay, maybe just a half a year, but it’s been a while). I’ve been focusing a lot of time and energy on getting my Etsy shop ready for the holidays. It has been a ton of fun and I’ve really enjoyed the process, but I am most definitely ready to get back to blogging as the holiday market events come to a close. I’ve also been majorly slacking in the cooking department and I’m attempting to get back in the routine of meal planning and actually cooking dinner for my family every once in a while. 🙂

This shepherd’s pie recipe is adapted from the She Reads Truth advent devotional that I typically read for the advent season. They include a handful of recipes each year that are always delicious. This is one recipe that you’ll definitely want to bookmark.

…………………………………

Shepherd’s Pie

Prep Time: 30 minutes; Cook Time: 30 minutes; Yield: serves 8-10

For Mashed Potatoes

  • 3-4 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped into 2 inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (I use Kerrygold)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup milk or cream (can substitute with almond milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

For Beef & Vegetable Mixture

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 5 medium carrots, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth (recipe for bone broth here)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Fill a large stock pot with water. Add the chopped potatoes, making sure the water covers them. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and continue boiling for 20-25 minutes.
  2. While potatoes are boiling, melt 4 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions and carrots to the skillet. Saute for about 8 minutes until carrots are tender.
  4. Add the ground beef to the onion and carrot mixture; cook and crumble until no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes.
  5. Drain the fat from the meat mixture and add the frozen peas.
  6. In a separate bowl, stir together beef broth, cornstarch, and Worcestershire sauce. Add this mixture to the meat and cook on high heat until it boils (about 5 minutes). Continue cooking until it has reduced to a consistency you like. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Once the potatoes are finished boiling and fork tender, drain and return them to the pot. Mash with a potato masher or electric mixer (immersion blender works well, too).
  9. Stir in milk or cream, 1/2 cup butter, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder–all to taste.
  10. Spread the meat and vegetable mixture in the bottom of a deep casserole dish, then spread the mashed potatoes evenly on top. Spot the top with butter for a more golden top.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until it bubbles on the sides. Let it cool slightly and serve! Makes great leftovers as well!