The Perfect Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

 

Perfect vegan and gluten free chocolate cake. www.alexismathews.com

Today marks a new chapter in our family, our oldest is celebrating his thirteenth birthday. As the oldest of seven children, he is our first teenager and starts a long line of teenagers to come. We will have at least one teenager in our family for the next 17 years. I don’t dare stop and think too long on that fact because it will bring me to my knees in fear.

No honestly, between my husband and I, I think we have this teenage thing handled. We are good balance in the parenting department and will get through any challenge that our new teenagers and the teens after him might throw our way.

When it comes to desserts, we have never been a huge family of sweets. In general, sweets have been reserved for special treats, celebrations, and holidays. We certainly are not like most families and prepare a dessert for after every dinner.

Since living a vegan and gluten free lifestyle our options for sweet treats has dwindled dramatically. I do not subscribe to the over abundance of gluten free junk food that is available in local stores. We enjoy real foods with minimal ingredients and I prefer to make our meals rather than buy prepackaged mixes.

As my son’s birthday approached I searched and searched for an acceptable vegan and gluten free cake. One that would live up to the typical birthday cake, rich and moist. Finding one with minimal ingredients proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. Not wanting to let my son down, I set out to create my own vegan and gluten free chocolate cake worthy of birthday celebrations.

Considering there were only crumbs left at the end of the party I think I baked a caked worthy of many birthday celebrations to come.

The Perfect Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
Serves 8
A vegan and gluten free chocolate cake worthy of birthdays and celebrations.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
32 min
Total Time
42 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
32 min
Total Time
42 min
466 calories
79 g
0 g
16 g
7 g
12 g
141 g
309 g
29 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
141g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 466
Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g
24%
Saturated Fat 12g
62%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 309mg
13%
Total Carbohydrates 79g
26%
Dietary Fiber 5g
18%
Sugars 29g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
2%
Iron
11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups gluten free flour, I used sorghum (milo) flour
  2. 1 cup coconut sugar
  3. ½ cup cocoa powder
  4. 1 t. baking soda
  5. ½ teaspoon salt
  6. 1/2 cup coconut oil
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  8. 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  9. 1 cup water
  10. confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl sift together all of the dry ingredients; flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  3. By hand, mix in the coconut oil, vanilla, apple cider vinegar, and water. Stir until combined. Do not over mix.
  4. Pour batter in an 11x7" glass baking dish. Bake for 32 minutes or until a knife comes clean from the middle.
  5. Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.
beta
calories
466
fat
16g
protein
7g
carbs
79g
more
Alexis Mathews https://alexismathews.com/
 
You can find this recipe linked on the Plant Based Potluck Party

16 Best Ways to Utilize Nutritional Yeast

16 Best Ways to Utilize Nutritional yeast. #8 just might surprise you! www.alexismathews.com

What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast in the vegan community is the number one vegan cheese alternative. More specifically however, nutritional yeast is a microorganism that grows on sugar cane and beet molasses. Once it is harvested, it is deactivated and crumbled into large flakes.

The uses of nutritional yeast are nearly endless.

Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B vitamins including thiamine, folate, B-6, and niacin. These important vitamins are critical in converting energy from the food you eat and in producing red blood cells. Most sources of nutritional yeast are also fortified with vitamin B-12 which is only found in animal protein. Vegans who regularly enjoy nutritional yeast need not worry about being deficient in B-12. 

Nutritional yeast is also gluten free, soy free, dairy free, and low in sodium. These delicious and creamy flakes will also not aggravate gut fungal infections, otherwise known as candidiasis.  

Additionally, nutritional yeast is a complete protein meaning it contains 9 of the 18 amino acids that your body can not produce on its own. Compounds in nutritional yeast have also been associated with cancer prevention, enhanced immunity and reduced cholesterol levels. 

Lastly, nutritional yeast contains a significant amount of iron, selenium, zinc, and fiber.

So what are you waiting for, go grab some nutritional yeast today!

16 Ways to Utilize Nutritional Yeast

1. Popcorn There is a reason I have this use for nutritional yeast first, I absolutely love it on my stove top organic coconut oil popped popcorn. Popcorn with a creamy nutty topping is the perfect guilt free evening snack whether you are a vegan or not.

2. Beans I always have 2-3 different types of beans cooked and ready for quick easy meals. Preparing food ahead of time is a huge time and sanity saver for any busy family. My family all love a hot and fresh bowl of beans, regardless of the variety. To add some additional flavor and nutritional value I sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on top of their beans and happily watch them gobble it all up.

3. Vegan cheese sauce In our home vegan cheese sauce is known as cashew cream. We always have a huge bowl of it prepared and ready to enjoy in our refrigerator. When we want an svn creamier cheese flavor to our cashew cream I add some nutritional yeast, it is simply amazing!

4. Steamed veggies Forget the butter, oil, or any other topping you add to steamed vegetables. Add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and you have not only saved yourself a ton of fat and calories but you have also added a ton of flavor and nutritional value.

5. Bread crumbs Bread crumbs can be costly when you purchase them in the store, especially if you are gluten free. Save yourself time and money, substitute nutritional yeast in place of your bread crumbs. 

6. Kale Chips When you make kale chips sprinkle a little nutritional yeast in the bowl and you will end up with an amazing flavor on your delicious chips.

7. Veggie burgers If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you already know how much my family and I love veggie and bean burgers. Although I don’t always list it as an optional ingredient in my burger recipes, nutritional yeast can always be added to the mix to add flavor and nutritional value. Nutritional yeast creates a vegan cheese burger of sorts, it is amazing!

8. Pasta No matter how you like you pasta you can always make it tastier with some nutritional yeast. It adds a creaminess just like if you had added traditional dairy cheese.

Are you catching on to the theme yet? Not only can you add nutritional yeast to everything, but adding nutritional yeast makes everything taste better.

9. Mashed potatoes If you enjoy the creamy butter taste in your mashed potatoes, fear not, nutritional yeast has come to your rescue. Add as much or as littles as you please, you will end up with a delicious creamy taste in your creamy fluffy potato goodness.

10. Thicken sauces Just like the traditional sauce thickeners you are used to, nutritional yeast will do the same thing but with more nutrition and flavor. Just add a sprinkle at a time, stir as the flakes dissolve and add more until you reach the desired thickness.

11.Soups My family adds nutritional yeast to all of their soups, even our favorite ginger and turmeric carrot soup. I will also occasionally sneak it in some of our broth based soups to add nutritional value, they love it.

12. Vegan pizza Yes, vegans can still enjoy pizza. Regardless of whether you add vegan cheese crumbles or not to your pizza, you can always add nutritional yeast on top of pizza for flavor and nutrition.

13. French fries Who doesn’t love cheese fries? You can still enjoy the cheese fry taste without the animal protein, heart disease, and cancer causing properties. Just bake your fries as usual but sprinkle some flakes on top before or after baking for a fun cheesy taste.

14. Sandwiches Be it vegetable sandwiches or wraps, I always add a sprinkle or two of nutritional yeast. I love the taste that it adds to my veggies and the nutritional benefits are to boot.

15. Salads Whether you add nutritional yeast to your favorite salad dressing or as a topping on your greens, you can’t go wrong with these delicious flakes. It is just like adding cheese to your salad but without all the nasty properties in dairy.

16. Smoothies Yes, you can even add nutritional yeast to your favorite smoothie. Of all of the options I have listed here, you will taste the nutritional yeast the least in your smoothie. In my experience, the fruits and other veggies in my smoothie mask the creamy cheese taste of the yeast more so than any other way. However, I know I am still getting all of the nutritional benefit of the yeast despite the lack of taste.

Do you have any additional uses for nutritional yeast that you would add to this list?

Mountain Rose Herbs August Monthly Specials

August MRH

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So fresh that smiles are guaranteed
It is no secret, Mountain Rose Herbs is my favorite place to buy organic essential oils, herbs, teas, hydrosols and much more. Their August specials have been announced and there are some great ones this month that I am excited to share with you.

Mountain Rose Herbs August Monthly Specials

Organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil 0.5oz 15% discount $2.34

Properties: Analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, antineuralgic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, decongestant, deodorant, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, vermifuge, vulnerary

Blends well with: Cedarwood, chamomile, cypress, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, juniper, lavender, lemon, marjoram, peppermint, pine, rosemary, thyme

The word eucalyptus is derived from Greek meaning “well covered”. This refers to part of the calyx that initially covers the flower.

Safety: Avoid while pregnant and with homeopathics. May cause skin irritation.

Organic Tangerine Essential Oil 0.5oz 15% discount $2.34

Properties: Antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, laxative, stimulant, tonic

Blends well with: Basil, black pepper, chamomile, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, frankincense, geranium, grapefruit, jasmine, juniper, lemon, myrrh, neroli, nutmeg, palmarosa, patchouli, petitgrain, rose, sandalwood, ylang ylang

The tangerine is a variety of the mandarin orange. You may sometimes see it on the market as Citrus x tangerine. The oils have similar properties, but different aroma characteristics.

Safety: May cause skin irritation.

Meadowfoam Seed Oil 8oz 25% discount $10.31

Cosmetic use only. Useful in cosmetic or natural body care recipes. 

When applied to the skin, it forms a moisture barrier and will assist the skin with preventing moisture loss. It is a key ingredient in many different products such as massage oils and lotions, facial creams, sunblock, hair and scalp products, cosmetics, body lotions, and shaving creams. In hair care products, it will add shine and moisture to the hair, and will remedy dry or damaged hair. When added to lotions and lip balms, it will re-moisturize dry or cracked lips and skin, and will make balms last longer.

While grown in the field, birds, insects, mice, and other critters, also eat the nutritious seeds. The meadowfoam plants themselves are a renewable crop, and are usually grown as a rotation crop for grass seed farmers. This eliminates the need to burn the fields in between grass seed plantings, and also provides farmers with additional income. Meadowfoam also requires less fertilizer and pesticides than most crops, assisting farmers and the environment.

Sea Salt 1 lb 25% discount $2.63 

Notes: Stores well under most conditions but fluctuations in humidity may cause it to cake up and harden. The line of sea salt offered by Mountain Rose Herbs meets USDA and FDA standards for food and cosmetic use, and is Kosher certified through Earth Kosher. For personal home use it can be ground with a simple salt grinder of similar device.

Mountain Rose Herbs sea salt (sodium chloride) is all natural, solar evaporated, and is gathered from the Pacific Ocean. This high quality sea salt is perfect for creating bath salts, body scrubs, or custom formulated therapeutic blends. Enjoy a truly euphoric bathing experience by combining these all-natural salts with dried herbs, flowers, and essential oils. Our sea salt is perfect for use by individuals, spas, and for manufacturers of high quality bath and body care products. It is suitable for food and cosmetic use.

Sea salt is not as refined as table salt, and it still contains traces of other minerals, including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and iodine. Sea salt is thought to be healthier and more flavorful than traditional table salt, and many rave about its bright, pure, clean flavor. Sea salt is actually not as ‘salty’ as table salt, so recipes may have to be adjusted for taste.

Nutmeg powder, brown and hello mustard seed, a gorgeous messenger bag, teas, roots, and pickling spices are also included in the August monthly specials.

Your Health Matters, Make a Change Today

Your health matters, make a change for the better today. 5 tips for making today healthier than yesterday. www.alexismathews.com

Consider the following questions.

When you look in the mirror how do you feel? What are the first thoughts that honestly and truly run through your mind? What about how you feel on the inside? How is your overall health? Have you ever thought “I wish I had more energy.”, “I wish I had the energy to run after my young children all day.”?

Or perhaps you’ve been told by your doctor that for your health and well being you need to lose some weight.

If your answers to any of the questions above leave you feeling like it is time to make a change in your eating habits, exercise routine, and overall health the time to change is NOW.

Not tomorrow, not next Monday, not the first of the month. Today, right now, immediately. There is no time to waste. You owe it to yourself and your family to change your unhealthy habits today.

Now that you’ve decided to improve your health, what does that mean and how do you begin?

5 steps to take today to reclaim your your health today:

  1. Get rid of all of the processed and junk food in your kitchen. The temptation to fall back into your unhealthy eating habits will be too strong if the unhealthy food is within arms reach. While you are at it, vow to not buy processed foods. There are limitless healthy, real food options to replace the convenience foods you use as a crutch.
  2. Establish an exercise routine that fits easily in your schedule. For some this means getting up an hour early or for others it means not plopping down on the couch after dinner. There is time in your day to exercise I promise, you just have to make it a priority and give up something else that is taking away from your health. Do your little ones still nap during the day? Grab 20-30 minutes while they sleep and do an exercise video. Perhaps you can make exercise a family event, get everyone on their bikes or in the stroller and head out for a walk/jog, now the whole family is improving their healthy not just you. Find an exercise you can tolerate in the beginning, I promise you that you will either learn to love it and crave it or you will stumble upon something else that you enjoy more. The key is to just get out there an move!
  3. Make eating healthy easy. Pre-cook and pre-plan your healthy meals. I always have at least 2-3 types of beans cooked and in our outside refrigerator. I also make sure to have cashew cream, hummus, rice, and couscous (or quinoa) in the refrigerator ready to eat. Pre-cooking staples in our diet takes the hassle and guess work out of preparing healthy meals quickly and easily for my large family.
  4. Set a daily water intake goal. Water is our lifeline. When in a survival situation you can go a lot longer without food than you can without water. Water is the number one way our body flushes toxins from our system. Just like taking a shower, drinking water helps to keep our body clean and healthy. Your daily water intake goal should be 2/3 your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weight 150 pounds, you should aim to drink 100 ounces of filtered water every day.
  5. Give yourself grace. Not everyday is going to be perfect but you shouldn’t allow yourself to continue making unhealthy lifestyle choices simply because it is easier than doing nothing. If you have a piece of candy, don’t eat more than one. If you don’t meet your water intake goal every day, give yourself grace. There is always tomorrow to build upon and grow from the lessons you learned today. Just don’t let yourself repeat the mistakes from today and fall into your old unhealthy lifestyle habits.

You owe it to yourself to make a change in your lifestyle for the better today!

What steps are you going to take today to make yourself and your life a priority?

When Your Health Hits Rock Bottom

Encouragement for when your health hits rock bottom and your are ready to make a change.

Stop for minute and consider your health and well being.

What has brought you to the point you find yourself at in life right now?

Unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle choices are most often a reflection of other challenges in our lives. We turn to comfort food and lazy choices as a crutch for our struggles. It is easier to eat fast food and sit on the couch than it is to face our problems and make positive changes.

Making changes takes energy and motivation, something we all possess when the time is right. You have to be in the right place in life though to realize that your health has to be the number one priority. You matter for not only yourself but your family, your children, and your friends. If you continue down the unhealthy lifestyle road you are currently on you won’t be around for those that matter the most in your life.

The time to change is now.

Yes it is easier to just continue living life as you have, dependent on convenience and processed foods, guzzling soda instead of water, grabbing a sugar filled mid-day pick-me-up because you are so exhausted. I agree whole heartedly a life of convenience is easier than the healthier alternative.

The question you have to ask yourself though is what is most important? Convenience or your health?

If you sit on the edge of the playground because you are too tired to play with your children at the park or you can’t get through the day without a nap, the time to change is NOW.

If you just got word that you have a new health condition, undeniably the time to change is NOW.

If you’ve been battling an auto-immune disease, go in for frequent checks of your thyroid, monitor your blood sugar, have skin issues that just won’t go away, or a whole myriad of other undesirable health conditions the time to change is NOW.

Not tomorrow, not next Monday, not the first of the month, and not when your friend is ready to make the change with you. The time to change is NOW.

Do you get what I’m trying to say here? There is truly no time to lose when it comes to your health. Every bite of unhealthy food, every guzzle of high fructose corn syrup filled drink you consume is a step in the wrong direction when it comes to your health.

No one else can make the change but you. The greasy, sugar filled convenience foods you continue to eat do not affect anyone else but you. Stuffing your face with junk because you are sad or mad or lazy doesn’t make anything in your life better. It certainly isn’t going to make you happy or more energetic. Eating junk will continue to make you feel like junk, both on the inside and the outside.

The old adage is true, you are what you eat!

So where are you today, right now? Are you ready for a change? Are you ready to put yourself and your health first?

Every addict has to hit rock bottom. No you aren’t addicted to illegal drugs but you are an addict just the same. You are addicted to the lifestyle you currently live. The time to make a change in your health is today, the time is NOW.

You can do this, you owe it to yourself first and foremost. You are worth it! Don’t fill your body with junk, you deserve better than that. You only have one body and one life to live. Make the most of each and every day. Don’t drag yourself and your life down by eating fatty sugar filled convenience foods. Build yourself up with nutrient dense fresh foods. Truly, you are worth so much more than the junk food you’ve grown accustomed to eating. 

Keep your portions in control and make healthy food and drink choices. The changes in your mood, appearance, and energy levels will astound you. You might just wonder why you didn’t make the change sooner.

The time to change is NOW!

What is the cause of your health hitting rock bottom? Why are you ready to make a change in your healthy lifestyle journey now? I’d love to hear from you!

Why I Live a Vegan Lifestyle

 

Not all vegans do it for the animals, some of us do it strictly for our health.

When I chose a vegan lifestyle I did not anticipate the number of questions I would get from strangers and new friends regarding my choice in eating habits. I honestly thought it was a simple personal decision. Yet at times I feel like I have a huge V stuck to my forehead. V for Vegan!

Why I choose to live a vegan lifestyle 

If you talk to the majority of vegans they will tell you that they live this lifestyle because of concerns they have for animals. Animal welfare is a huge movement behind the popularity of the vegan diet. However, as usual I do not fall within the majority of this movement. My family and I care for animals and their well being but their welfare has zero, zilch, nada to do with out decision to remove all animal proteins from our daily diet. Plain and simply, I am a vegan for my personal health and well being. As I’ve stated previously, I’ve never been a huge meat eater but certainly never gave it much thought as to what the red meat, lean proteins, dairy, and eggs were doing to my overall health and long-term cancer risk. I also never even considered that animal protein sources, more specifically casein, might be the cause of my overall tiredness.

When was the last time you stopped to truly and honestly consider the foods that you put in your mouth each and every day? Do you give a second thought to how these foods are affecting your body, your mood, overall health, long-term health? Or perhaps you have a chronic disease, maybe an auto-immune disease, did you know that animal proteins can be the cause of your disease?

The research is too vast and extensive to even skim the surface appropriately in this short article. Do the research yourself, don’t just take my word for it. Educate yourself about the effects that animal proteins have on your body. I would suggest starting with the two leading books in the vegan scientific community, The China Study and Whole both by T. Colin Campbell. You truly owe it to yourself and your family to research an plant based diet and the benefits it has on your longterm health. Did you know that the length of our intestines indicates we are best suited for a diet based in plants and protein sources other than from animals? This article provides a great comparative analysis of carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores.

I choose to live a vegan lifestyle for my diabetic husband.

In reading The China Study and Whole, it became very apparent from all of the scientific research Campbell presents that a vegan lifestyle could dramatically benefit my husband who lives with type-1 diabetes. Through Campbell’s research and life experiences he has seen a huge improvement in insulin dependent diabetic patients that live a vegan lifestyle. My husband is very aware of the long-term effects that his diabetes can and most likely will have on his long-term health and well being. With in 24 hours of starting to eat a vegan diet my husband noticed an effect on his insulin needs. Almost immediately he no longer needed as much insulin with each meal. Now months later he is taking 10 times less insulin per day than he was when eating a conventional diet full of animal protein sources. Not only is this a huge boost to his health but it helps our financial bottom line in that we aren’t purchasing insulin as often. It took some time for him to figure out his new insulin needs but he is so stable now that he can go without insulin for a meal if he eats clean.

Additionally, he regularly sees his blood sugar levels decrease overnight rather than increase as is the case with diabetics. This result shows that his pancreas is healing and starting to produce insulin on its own and can keep up with the fast that occurs while my husband sleeps. He feels better and has more energy than when he was 20 years younger. He is a long distance runner and regularly runs seven plus miles with 10+ mile runs once or twice a week.

I choose to live a vegan lifestyle for my health and the health of my family.

Why are you vegan? Or why aren’t your vegan?

Win $1000 Toward Your Next Vacation with Expedia

*This post contains affiliate links which if you click on them I may earn a commission. This commission helps pay for this site and support my family. Your support is appreciated.*

Expedia Travel Giveaway

You could win $1000 toward your next vacation from Expedia!

It is no secret, I absolutely love family vacations. I have amazing childhood memories centered around long road trips and cross country flights. As a parent, I am also enjoying creating new memories with my children and hopefully instilling in them the same love for travel, adventure, and vacation that I enjoy.

I have an amazing giveaway opportunity to tell you about. The prize is so amazing that it is worth the few seconds it will take to complete your entry. 

Expedia is giving away three $1000 Visa gift cards to use on your next family vacation. Yes, you read that correctly, three, 3, tres, trios, and every other translation of three that you can think of. You have an opportunity to win $1000, who couldn’t use that on their next vacation? I know I certainly could.

Giveaway details:

  • Tuesday, July 15th at 9:00 AM ET to Thursday, July 17th at 9:00 PM ET
  • Three (3) winners to each receive $1,000 Visa gift cards courtesy of Expedia.
  • Users can enter the giveaway by heading to the Expedia page on Savings.com and submitting their email address on the form at the top of the page.
  • The winners will be chosen via a lottery drawing on Friday (7/18) and notified via the email address they used to enter.

 Click the image below or the one at the top of this post to enter! 

Expedia Travel Giveaway

 If you win, PLEASE come back and let me know so I can celebrate with you!

Mountain Rose Herbs July Specials

*This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase through these links you are helping to support this blog and my efforts to educate others on a healthy lifestyle. Thank you for your support*

So fresh that smiles are guaranteed
It is no secret, Mountain Rose Herbs is my favorite place to buy organic essential oils, herbs, teas, hydrosols and much more. Their July specials have been announced and there are some great ones this month that I am excited to share with you.

Mountain Rose Herbs July Specials

Ginger Essential Oil 0.5oz $9.28 30% discount

Properties: Analgesic, antibacterial, anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperitive, aphrodisiac, astringent, carminative, cephalic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, stimulant, stomachic, tonic

Blends well with: Bergamot, cedarwood, clove, coriander, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, grapefruit, jasmine, juniper, lemon, lime, mandarin, neroli, orange, palmarosa, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, vetiver, ylang ylang

The Doctrine of Signatures is a system that relates the shape of a plant to a system or organ in the human body. Ginger root shows an affinity with the digestive system. This relationship shows the link between ginger root and its usefulness for digestive ailments.

Safety: mause cause skin irritation, possibly photo toxic 

Marjoram, Wild Essential Oil: 0.5oz $15.11 35% discount

Properties: Antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, decongestant, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative

Blends well with: Basil, chamomile, clary sage, cypress, elemi, eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender, orange, rosewood, tea tree, thyme

Wild marjoram oil is not a variety of marjoram but is actually distilled from a species of wild thyme which grows in Spain.

Safety: avoid while pregnant, may cause skin irritation, not for internal use

Lemon Balm Hyrdosol 3oz $7.01 15% discount

Best known for its calming effects on mental stress and fatigue, this lovely hydrosol is also beneficial for general skin irritations, and makes a soothing addition to room and body sprays. A couple of Tablespoons added to a bath is the perfect way to end the day.
Suitable for cosmetic use.

There are numerous other items on special this month like chia seeds, olive leaf, rooibos green tea, sitting pretty balm, lip balm, and cheesecloth. All on sale at an amazing discount this month. Click the image below and you will be taken directly to all of the Mountain Rose Herb specials for this month.

Mountain Rose Herbs July 2014 Monthly Specials

 

 

Fun in the Sun with Your Family

Fun family outdoor activities

*This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog and my family. Thank you for your support*

Living in Southern California, it is often said we pay a “sunshine tax” because we have nearly year round sunshine. As a family we are outside enjoying the sun nearly everyday, soaking in the sun and making fun family memories together. During the summer though when the temperatures begin to soar my family and I love to flock to the water to stay cool, have fun, and make memories.

This summer my husband and I are packing each and every day with as much outdoor family fun as possible. Our motivation for packing this summer with outdoor fun is simply to make as many fun family memories as possible and make this most of this time in our children’s childhoods. If we aren’t intentional in our memory making activities it is very easy to procrastinate and let time pass us by with nothing to show for family memories when our children are young.

Fun family outdoor activities

No matter where you live or what you enjoy doing outdoors with your family there is plenty of fun to be had in the sun. To make the most of this summer, BE INTENTIONAL!

Be intentional with your time and outdoor activity choices. For my family being intentional means weekly beach trips and weekly (minimum) trips to the pool. Having a regular schedule this summer gives us something to look forward to each week. Just like when I was young, my children and I meet a few other families at the beach once a week. I have incredibly fond memories of that time in my childhood and I am so grateful for the time this summer that my children are spending with their friends building sand castles and playing in the waves.

Beach CollageFun family outdoor activities

Making the most out of our time in the sun this summer requires some toys and supplies to help keep my littles ones busy. I was so excited to see the outdoor toys on sale at our local Kmart earlier this summer. With seven kids,  we need lots of toys and can’t afford to spend a fortune on toys that are easily forgotten at the beach. Kmart came through this summer and saved us serious money. If beach and pool toys aren’t what you are looking for, you will find a huge selection of other outdoor toys including pools, play tables, swing sets and much more.

Fun family outdoor activities

No matter what your outdoor activity of choice is, make sure your family is safe doing what they love. For my family this means making sure all of our children are water safe. This summer our children are all nearly water safe and are very comfortable in and around the pool. Of our 7 children, the only one who is not water safe is one of our 3 year twins who has a mild case of Cerebral Palsy.  Everyday that we are at the pool we continue to work with her on kicking and water safety. Teaching our children to swim from a young age has always been a huge priority in our family.

Here is a fun video my husband took this past weekend in slow motion of one of our sons having fun in the pool.

Even if the water is not your favorite outdoor activity, there are limitless possibilities for your family to have fun and enjoy the outdoors this summer. Just get outside, enjoy all that the outdoors has to offer, and most importantly make amazing lifetime memories with your family.

Fun family outdoor activities

If you would like to follow more summer fun posts like this one be sure and use #KMartSummerFun across social media platforms.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, I am a Kmart blogger, though all opinions are my own.

Essential Oils 101: Methods of Use

Essential Oils Use

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Essential oils are gaining in popularity and use for a very good reason. Simply put, they work. Their uses and healing properties are nearly limitless and they are a safe non-toxic natural method of healing and cleaning.

In the first post of this series, The Basics I described the elementary aspects of essentials oils. I briefly describe everything from methods of extraction, methods of use and carrier oils.

Now I am going to delve more in depth into the methods of use and the best practices for essential oils. Depending on the need or situation there are quite a few choices you can make for the best method of use.

There are three main methods of use for essential oils. These include room, body and water. I will not describe internal ingestion because that has been shown to not be an effective way of using essential oils for their full healing benefits. Your internal digestive system alters the chemical structure of the oils and thereby changes the effects that the oil has in its original form.

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Methods of Use:

1. Room: candles, diffusers, light bulbs, humidifiers, radiators, room sprays, water bowls, and wood fires are all methods of diffusing essential oils in a room. It is important to note that when using this method you will need to leave the room shortly after starting the diffusion to reap the greatest benefit of the aromatherapy that the oil has to offer. Much like when you walk into a smoke filled room the smell is strongest when you first enter but the longer you stay in that smokey room the smell is less noticeable. The same holds true for essential oils and their aromatherapy properties.

My personal favorite and I believe most effective way of use essential oils in the room method is with a diffuser. Diffusers do no waste any of the precious and often times slightly expensive oils. Just one drop in the diffuser filled with water is often times all you will need to enjoy the aromatherapy and healing properties of the diffused oil.

My favorite essential oil diffuser is the Now Foods Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser. It is not only inexpensive but it also includes a fun colorful light feature and is easy to clean as well as add water and oils. It is truly the best one on the market for the price.

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2. Body: there are four main methods for using essential oils on your body. These include inhalation, massage, perfume, and tissue/handkerchief.  One could also argue that there is a fifth body method of use which is applied neat on the skin. Not all essential oils are safe applied neat. The two most popular and safe oils neat are lavender and peppermint. I often use lavender on my children just before bed to calm them and prepare them for a restful night of sleep. Peppermint neat on the temples is a great remedy for headaches.

When inhaling essential oils either straight from the bottle or from a small dish it is recommended that you start with the oils low and in front of you. Slowly work the oil up towards your nose in a circular motion. As you get to your nose plug one nostril and inhale deeply to receive the full benefit of this method of use.

Massage is another easy and effective way of enjoying the benefits of essential oils. Simply add a drop or two to your favorite carrier oil and massage on the affected area.

The tissue method is convenient for when you are traveling and without a diffuser or time for a massage. Simply add a drop or two of the oil to a tissue or handkerchief. Then as needed hold the cloth near you nose and inhale deeply. Use as needed.

3. Water: water uses include baths, foot bath, hand bath, sitz bath, shower, sauna, jacuzzi, douche, and bidet. All of these methods are fairly self explanatory but please use caution and follow a reliable recipe when using any of these methods for essential oils in water.

My favorite water method is in the bath. A few drops of lavender with a cap flu of bubble bath and my tired stressed out mommy bones have a few moments of peace and quiet to relax and unwind. The smell of lavender rising on the steam is amazing and incredibly therapeutic.

There simply is not beating the use of essential oils when you are needing or wanting to treat issues at home naturally. All across social media I see countless friends who are popping this pill and that pill to cure this problem and that. I wish I could reach through the screen and hand them the essential oils they need to cure the problem at hand naturally.

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c
What are your favorite essential oils? And what do you use them most often with?