Enjoy Back-To-Basics bath and beauty ideas for healthier living
Natural face cleanser
This is one of the simplest face cleanser ideas you'll come across, and all you'll need is a jar of raw honey. Wet face with warm water. Rub a teaspoon of honey into hands then gently massage onto face. Raw honey has natural probiotics, antibacterials and enzymes perfect for skin care.
Eye makeup remover
If you haven't given much thought to what chemicals you are exposing the sensitive mucous membrances of your eyes to when using conventional eye make up remover, now's a good time. Eye make up removers can contain mineral oil, isopropyl palmitate, polyethylene, ceteth-20, trihydroxystearin, sorbic acid, methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, vanillin and titanium dioxide. What's more, some eye make up removers can run as high as $30 a bottle, which seems a little pricey. Here's a solution: olive oil. Yup, a little bit of olive oil dabbed on a cotton ball or cloth will do the trick.
Homemade hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizers can do more harm than good as they kill off even the good bacteria, creating resistant bacteria, and usually contain the chemical triclosan, which has been linked to hormone disruption. They can also create immunological effects. Hand sanitizers also have chemical fragrances, which are absorbed through the skin. One of the simplest ways to sanitize hands, if you feel you need a hand sanitizer, is with a vinegar spritzer. Pour 5 per cent white vinegar (the kind sold in stores) into a small travel size spray bottle. Vinegar will kill 99 per cent of bacteria. Spray to wet hands and then rub hands until dry. The smell dissipates once it dries. If you prefer to mask the smell, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil.
The No Shampoo Shampoo
This idea will pass the sniff test by your teenagers, but wait until your hair dries. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) offers up a low-cost way to shampoo your hair, without all the chemicals in conventional shampoos. For a totally organic experience try an apple cider vinegar rinse for your hair instead of shampoo. Because regular shampoo strips away natural oils, when you begin using ACV you may find your hair pumps out more oils, but ACV will balance the pH of your hair. For the first couple of weeks you can use a wash of non-aluminum baking soda and water (about ¼ cup of baking soda to one cup water) to scrub into hair, then rinse with a solution of ACV and water in a 1:2 ratio, respectively. Be sure to buy a good quality ACV.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is strong enough for a man, but made for an organic woman. Sweating is our body's way of detoxing, so it's natural and normal to sweat…and even good for you. ACV neutralizes odors, but doesn't act as an antiperspirant, which is actually good news. Some health experts suggest that using antiperspirants is linked to breast cancer because they prevent your body from purging toxins, and instead the toxins find their way into the lymph notes, not to mention the toxicity of aluminum. Mix ACV and water in a spray bottle in a 1:2 ratio, respectively and spray the pits after showering. Sure, it's a bit stinky at first, but the smell dissipates when it dries. Tip: if you've decided to use ACV as a deodorant you may as well feed two birds with one worm and use the same bottle to squirt in your hair as a shampoo while in the shower.
Age-defying night cream
This DIY cream doesn't get any easier, or cheaper. An investment of about $8 in a jar of unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil will give you enough night cream for a year. Smooth a small amount over face each night. To make an eye cream, melt the oil on low heat on the stove, then add about four vitamin E capsules into a quarter cup of coconut oil. To do this, poke a hole into the capsules and drain into oil. Blend well. Use it as an eye makeup remover too.
This do-it-yourself concoction works well with up-dos and styles when you won't be running fingers through your hair, and it holds well – without the industrial polymers. Boil one cup of water and add four teaspoons of sugar. Stir to dissolve. Cool and pour into a small spray bottle. Add essential oils if desired.
Enjoy Back-to-basic household ideas for healthier living
Imagine a degreaser that removes sticky price tags and gluey messes, that is good enough to eat?
The Material Safety Data Sheet for Goo Gone, a commercial degreaser, lists a host of warnings for inhalation of the chemical, along with skin contact and more. Suprisingly coconut oil works like a charm for removing sticky residue left from price tags and other debris.
Weeds that sprout up between patio stones and walkways can be challenging to get rid of. A natural weed killer solution exists. Bring to a boil one cup of table salt and two cups of water. Pour over weeds. Alternatively, sprinkle salt on the weeds and allow rainwater to dissolve the salt.
If the only spider you've ever come to love is Wilbur's friend Charlotte, and you're not keen on sacrificing your family's health for the sake of banning spiders from your home or cottage, then this idea is perfect for you. Spiders despise peppermint, so a natural spider ban solution is simple. Fill a spray bottle with about a cup of water, a squirt of dish soap and about 10 drops of pure peppermint oil. Spray spots that are prone to spiders to keep them at bay.
Liquid coffee fertilizer
Don't toss the grounds leftover from your morning cup of java. Turn them into liquid fertilizer. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen and trace minerals. Add one cup of grounds to nine litres of water and steep overnight. Use as a liquid fertilizer. You can also deter slugs and snails from your garden by placing mounds of used coffee grounds in slug-prone areas.
Refreshing mosquito repellent
If you're a little wary of using insect repellent chemicals that carry a note of caution due to studies showing possible damage to brain cells, this minty mosquito spray may be for you. Mix five drops of mint oil with 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1/3 cup of vodka or witch hazel. Shake thoroughly and pour into small spray bottles for a natural repellent on-the-go. Planting mint in containers (it can become invasive in the ground) helps to keep insects at bay in your garden as well. Or, if you forgot to grab repellent and come across wild mint while hiking, rub the leaves gently on skin to release the pungent scent.
Vinegar is a great natural alternative to combat mold growth around tub and tiles. Keep a spray bottle of vinegar handy to spray areas prone to mold, or where mold has started to take hold.
Surprising ways to use fruit and veggie scraps
By Sari Huhtala
With a little ingenuity you can extend the functionality of fruit and veggie scraps that are typically tossed into a composter or garbage and at the same time treat your body to the powerhouse of nutrients they contain.
If you're like me and beeline it to the organic produce section in the grocery store you undoubtedly know that shopping organic can be harder on the pocketbook. Knowing this, I want to squeeze as much nutrition out of my fruits and veggies as possible, which would explain why one day, as I was peeling organic sweet potatoes for a Moroccan stew, I found myself unable to part with the peels. Instead of tossing them in the composter I tossed them into a covered bowl in the fridge. The next day, as I was peeling organic potatoes I was overcome with the same separation anxiety, so I tossed the peels in with the sweet potato peels. It was starting to look like a composter had found a home in my fridge.
I figured, if sweet potato and potato fries with peels intact taste great, why wouldn't peels alone taste great? So I tossed the peels in a touch of olive oil with an herb mix, placed them on a baking sheet and baked them at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes, until golden and crispy, and presto, a healthful snack was born!
Since potato and sweet potato peels pack a powerful nutritious punch, it makes sense to consume them. Sweet potato skin is rich in iron, potassium, fibre, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and folate. And when it comes to potato skins, 88 per cent of the iron you'll get from the potato comes from the skin. Most of the calcium and fibre is in the skin and it's also rich in B6 vitamins and vitamin C.
The idea of saving those often-wasted food scraps extends far beyond the potato family.
Boost your body with antioxidants from watermelon rind. A study in the Journal of Chromatography found that watermelon rind contains citrulline, a compound that converts to an amino acid crucial for heart, circulatory and immune system health. What's more, researchers found the rind may relax blood vessels, thus playing a role in erectile dysfunction.
Use watermelon rind in smoothies or juicing, add to stews or sauté in olive oil with herbs.
Those large, round seeds in an avocado have so much going for them, it's a wonder we don't give them more credit. Packed with antioxidants, much more than the flesh itself, avocado seeds have phenolic compounds, along with antibacterial and anti-viral properties that can help prevent ulcers in the lining of the stomach, prevent constipation and ease diarrhea. Rich in flavanoids, the seeds can help fight free radicals in the body, strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation.
How to eat those seeds? Simply remove the seed, rinse and dry and place it into a plastic bag. Crush it with a hammer. Then place the crushed pieces into a food processor to grind into a powder. Sprinkle freely onto foods.
Cauliflower stalks and leaves
Why stop at the white florets when cooking up cauliflower? The leaves make a great grilled treat and add a nutritional boost. Cauliflower leaves are high in protein, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron and selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese. And to think, we've just been tossing them in the composter all of these years?
Be sure to use organic cauliflower as there may be higher concentrations of pesticides in the leaves. To grill, trim off the stem and wash, then toss into a bowl with olive oil and spices – garlic and dill are a nice combo. Place leaves on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes in a 400 degrees F oven, or grill on the barbecue. You can do the same with broccoli leaves, also nutritional powerhouses. The stalks and stems of both vegetables also contain more nutrients than the florets, so consider tossing into soups and stews for extra nutrition.
Onion and garlic skins
Skins that wrap an onion are definite keepers for those of us who want to get the most nutrition out of our foods. Not only are the skins a great source of fibre, their phenolic compounds – which help prevent heart disease and cancer – are plentiful. High levels of these compounds give them an A+ for antioxidant capacity, according to a study in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition.
Garlic skin also contains high levels of antioxidants. Peeling garlic cloves eliminates the antioxidants so it's well worth keeping the skin on when roasting or baking garlic with meals. Roast garlic in oven by slicing ¼ inch off the top of the bulb, place bulbs on a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 20 minutes at 250 degrees F. Stick to organic onions and garlic. Toss onion peels into soups and stews, or toss into baggies into the freezer for later use. You can also dry onion skins in an oven at about 150 degrees F and grind it into a powder once cooled. Then add the powder to meals.
Quit tossing those leafy greens from beets! Not only are they more nutritious than the beet itself, which is already a powerhouse, but sautéed beetroot greens offer up a delicious treat and are simple to prepare. High in vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese, beetroot greens are also chock full of fibre, protein, calcium, iron, phosphorus and zinc. If that isn't enough to convince you to divert those greens from the landfill consider the following findings. Researchers have found that the vitamin K in beet greens works in synergy with calcium to prevent osteoporosis, has blood clotting properties and could help prevent Alzheimer's disease. Its antioxidants help boost the immune system and ward off free radicals in the body. To prepare, simply wash the greens and toss in a pan with some olive oil and fresh garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper and simmer till tender – about 10 minutes. Turnip greens can also be sautéed and offer up a nutritious treat.
Enjoy healthier living with back-to-basic ideas for remedies
Homemade cough drops
Just the idea of making homemade cough drops sounds more complicated than it actually is. All you need is half a cup of raw honey, two tablespoons organic lemon juice (I like to keep a bottle handy in the fridge for all recipes instead of fresh organic lemons) and one teaspoon grated ginger. Toss ingredients into a pot and bring to boil at medium heat. Use a candy thermometer. Once it is boiling and reaches 300 degrees F remove from heat. Allow foam to settle and drop by teaspoonfuls onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Allow to cool completely before peeling off the sheet. Dust lighly in organic powdered sugar if desired to avoid having them stick together when storing in a jar, or wrap individually.
Acid reflux relief
Antacids and proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux can wreak havoc on gut health. A teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a cup of water can help neutralize stomach acids and alleviate heartburn and indigestion.
Stuffy nose relief
This stuffy nose strategy is so simple and provides instant relief from a stuffy nose caused by winter's dry air. Put a dab of coconut oil onto a cotton swab and smooth around the inside of each nostril to coat. Relief can be instantaneous when stuffiness is due to dry air. Repeat three times a day, especially at night, if suffering from sinusitis or rhinitis. Coconut oil is known to be a natural antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal.
Contrary to popular belief, dandruff is not just caused by a dry scalp. It's actually due to an overgrowth of yeast that feeds on excess oil and dead skin cells, Before you reach for a cocktail of chemicals in a bottle, aka commercial dandruff shampoo, try spraying the scalp with a mixture of equal parts raw apple cider vinegar and water. Leave on scalp for 15 minutes, then rinse. Repeat a couple of times a week until dandruff is eliminated. Apple cider vinegar is not just a natural probiotic, but it helps fight bacteria and fungi.
Natural sleep aid
Drinking a half a cup of tart cherry juice an hour before bedtime makes a nice sleep aid. Cherries naturally raise melatonin levels, which helps the body regulate sleep.
Yeast infection relief
Move over Canesten, there's a new kid on the block. Battling a yeast infection? Try topically applying coconut oil several times a day to the affected area. It's naturally anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-microbial.
Sore throat relief
Organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar has countless medicinal uses. Doctors in the 1700s used it to treat everything from stomach aches to poison ivy, and even diabetes. Its antibacterial properties can help with sore throats. Gargle with a mixture of about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with 1/4 cup of warm water.
Over-the-counter lice treatments often contain a slew of toxic chemicals like lindane, malathion, pyrethrums, pyrethroids, permethrin and carbaryl ar.
This natural concoction has been tried and tested, and it works! Mix two ounces of olive oil with 15 drops of tea tree oil and about 10 drops of eucalyptus oil. Apply to the scalp using cotton balls. Leave on the scalp overnight. The head can be covered with a shower cap overnight. The olive oil and essential oils will suffocate lice. The next morning, comb through the hair fully to remove the lice, then shampoo and rinse and then repeat the shampooing a second time.
The conventional treatment for ringworm, a contagious skin disorder caused by a fungus, is typically a topical antifungal medication. Natural alternatives do exist, and may work for ringworm - one of which is apple cider vinegar. Mix raw organic apple cider vinegar in a 1:1 ratio with spring water. Apply on the affected area a couple of times a day with a cotton swab. Consult your health professional for advice beforehand.
Enjoy healthier living with back-to-basics foodie ideas.
Easy un-microwave popcorn
I've come to realize there is a whole generation of people who didn't grow up making stove-top popcorn, and even for those who did, it's become a lost art - evidenced by the hordes of people buying caseloads of microwave popcorn. If you are still microwaving popcorn, cut it out. Seriously. It is nothing short of a health nightmare. A friend of mine once told me her granddaughter had been working at a movie theatre concession stand and started to develop an ongoing cough. Her family doctor diagnosed her as having symptoms of popcorn lung, caused by the chemical diacetyl, used for artificial butter flavoring. Sounds absurd, but just Google it for more information. Although some companies have taken steps to eliminate the chemical, it doesn't need to be listed as an ingredient - it can simply fall under the category of artificial butter flavour, so the only way to ensure you and your family are not breathing and ingesting diacetyl is to make your own popcorn, which is an absurdly simple thing to do. Add a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil, or any high-heat oil into a pot, pour enough popcorn kernels to cover bottom of pot and place on stove. Turn stove on highest heat setting and keep an eye on it. Once it starts to pop, cover with a lid and move pot around to avoid burning. Turn element off after about 30 seconds and let it continue popping. Use melted real butter and salt for extra flavour or simply melt a bit of coconut oil and drizzle on top
Flax gel eggs
I did the math on this one and it's definitely cheaper to use flax gel eggs in recipes than actual organic eggs, healthier than conventional eggs, and saves a trip to the store if you run out of eggs while on a baking spree. Grind flax into a flax meal. One tablespoon of flax to two tablespoons of water equals one egg. Combine the flax and water and let sit for a few minutes, then use in baking recipes where it calls for an egg.
Meal replacement drinks that won't knock your immune system down I'm always baffled by the fact that doctors prescribe meal replacement drinks for patients with a disease like cancer, in particular. Essentially, what they are prescribing is a concoction of corn syrup, sugar and water mixed with synthetic vitamins. It's hard to imagine that adding 20 grams of sugar (or more if you drink more than one) is a good way to boost your health, considering four grams of sugar is said to suppress your immune system for up to four hours. Why not create your own meal replacement drink to actually boost your health? Invest in an inexpensive smoothie maker, like a Magic Bullet. For an easy start, toss in your favourite frozen fruit, water, good quality protein powder, some spinach leaves and a healthy fat like coconut oil or flax seed oil, blend and enjoy. Experiment by adding extras like hemp seeds, walnuts, oatmeal, coconut water – just about anything you can imagine.
If you're still in the habit of using margarine - cut it out, even flies avoid it. You can make your own spreadable butter and get an extra dose of healthy fats. Combine half cup of butter with half a cup of good quality extra virgin olive oil. Blend well. Add seasonings like garlic powder if desired. Store in fridge.
Sneak in nutrition next time you are making homemade beef patties. Add cooked white navy beans, white kidney beans or great northern beans to your beef. Mash beans so that they blend well in the raw hamburger beef. If you are into juicing, add the veggie pulp leftovers from your juicer or add pureed veggies like carrots, spinach or beets. The kids will never know the difference.
Regrow your vegetables
Even if you don't have a green thumb, this idea is so simple anyone can do it, and you may never have to buy celery again. Next time you purchase celery, save the root part, rinse and place with stalks facing upward in a small bowl of water in a sunny location on a windowsill. Let it begin to regrow in the water for about a week, then plant in soil in a flower pot (or an empty large can with holes in bottom for drainage). Water generously. You can try this with bok choy roots, romaine lettuce and even grow garlic sprouts from a garlic clove.>
Go gluten free with DIy oat flour
You don't need to own a flour mill to make flour – you just need something to grind it like a Magic Bullet or a coffee grinder. Grind dry oats in small batches until a flour consistency is achieved. You can easily swap out wheat flour for oat flour in cookie recipes, pancakes, muffins and loaves in a 1:1 ratio. Experiment with small batches. Old-fashioned oats, rather than instant oatmeal, work best for baking. Happy 'gluten-free' baking!
Homemade Jam in Less than 60 seconds
Let's face it. When you're leading a busy life, jam-making may not be on the top of your list of priorities. But what if you knew you could whip up a batch of homemade jam in 60 seconds flat? All you need is about two cups of berries, frozen or fresh, about 1 1/2 tbsp of chia seeds, and about 1/8 cup of maple syrup (or modify to tastebuds). Toss berries into a blender or Magic Bullet (if using frozen, allow to thaw and keep juices. If using fresh, add a touch of water). Blend well, then add chia seeds and maple syrup and blend again. Add more water if too thick.
Chocolate Sundae sauce
Google the ingredients in a conventional chocolate syrup and you'll find high fructose corn syrup, sugar, polysorbate 60, artificial flavours and other hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Making it yourself requires hardly any effort and will provide a nice dose of healthy fats, iron, fibre and magnesium, and antioxidants if using raw cacao. Melt about 1/4 cup of coconut oil on low heat in a saucepan (avoid microwaving to retain nutritional value). Stir in about 2 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, or even better, raw cacao, and 1 tbsp maple syrup. Optional: 1 tsp pure vanilla. Stir well and drizzle onto ice cream, or use as a dip for fruits. Keep in glass jar on counter for few days, then transfer to fridge for longer storage. Sauce will harden in fridge, but can be remelted.
Create chickpea croutons
Try this gluten-free crunchy salad topper instead of regular croutons. Drain and rinse a 398 ml can of chickpeas. Pat dry. Toss with about 1 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper. You can add any additional seasonings like rosemary, thyme and basil if desired. Spread onto a baking sheet and roast at 375 degrees F for about 45 minutes, or until golden. Turn chickpeas halfway through baking. Remove from oven. Chickpeas will harden as they are cooling. Let cool completely before storing in a jar with a lid.
Rice in an instant
Instant rice, though handy in a time crunch, has less nutritional value than regular rice. Cook large batches of organic brown rice and freeze into baggies for quick access at dinner time. Simply thaw rice in fridge and toss into a pot with a couple of tablespoons of water. Heat and serve.
Freeze your lemons for a pinch of health
Don't toss those lemon rinds into the garbage. Lemon peel contains up to 10 times more vitamins than the actual juice, and you can easily freeze lemons so they'll be handy any time. Be sure to always buy organic lemons to avoid consuming pesticides. Wash the lemon and pop it into the freezer. You can grate the frozen lemon and use the rind on salads, in dressings or to season foods.
Once thawed it will become mushy, so grate or slice when frozen. Peel the rind with a vegetable peeler and place it on a drying rack to create dried lemon peel. Leave it at room temperature for a few days to dry it until brittle, unless there is high humidity in the house, in which case you may want to use a dehydrator. Then pulverize in a food processor or grinder to create a powder to use in foods like a citrus and spice herb mix, or use the whole strips in a jar with olive oil. Let sit for a couple of weeks to create lemon olive oil. You can also make a cup of lemon tea with the dried strips.
Create your own sports drink for a refreshing way to hydrate and replenish electrolytes. Wash one lemon and two oranges. (Be sure to use organic citrus fruit). Squeeze the juice from the fruit into a blender or a shaker bottle. Save the peels. Add two cups of fresh water, 1/8 of a tsp of Himalayan salt and 1 tbsp maple syrup. Blend or shake until salt dissolves. Pour into a water bottle. Cut citrus fruit peels into smaller pieces and toss into the drink to infuse the water and add extra nutrients.
Homemade French Fries
French fries top the charts among the unhealthiest food choices you could eat. Although making your own from scratch sounds like a real chore, it's one of the easiest foods to prepare, and healthy too, as long as you forgo the deep fryer.
To make your own fries in a flash, scrub potatoes clean (mix in some sweet potatoes to add extra nutrition and always opt for organic due to the high pesticide levels in potatoes). Cut into strips, leaving the nutritious skin on. Toss in a bowl, drizzle with some avocado oil (an oil that tolerates high heat), and spread onto a parchment paper-lined baking pan. Sprinkle with salt, and other seasonings if preferred, and bake in a 400 degrees F oven until lightly golden, tossing occassionally while they are baking.
Breakfast in a jar
Lack of time is often cited as a reason why people skip breakfast or, don't have time to make a healthy breakfast. Here's a simple solution for the time-challenged mom juggling kids and career, or even for the individual who is traveling, eating crummy breakfast bagels on the run. Save small, empty glass jars, washed and dried well, or invest in a few small mason jars. Fill a small jar with about 1/4 cup of dry oat bran, a tablespoon of flax seeds, a superfood like ground raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or hemp seeds, and some dried fruit (dried apple, raisins, cranberries, etc.)
Seal jar with lid and when ready to eat just add boiling water to desired consistency. Let sit for about a minute and voila, you have yourself a healthy, hearty breakfast. This is a great way to ensure, even on the road, you can nourish yourself with a healthy breakfast. Hotel rooms typically have coffee makers so access to hot water is right at your fingertips.
Better bang-for-your-buck Beans
Cooking your own beans and chickpeas from scratch, then freezing them not only saves you a slew money, but eliminates any of the extra preservatives and processed salt added to canned beans. This is kind of like a Sunday morning project. If making kidney, black beans, navy beans, chickpeas, etc. fill a couple of large bowls halfway with dried beans then add water to rim. Let the beans soak overnight. The next morning, pour beans into a large pot and bring to boil. Let simmer until the beans are softened. Keep an eye on the pot so there is sufficient water, and so they don't boil over. Drain and cool the beans. Scoop into BPA-free baggies and freeze for later use in soups, chili, hummus, salads and more. Freezing doesn't alter the texture of the beans and they taste fresh once thawed.
Creamy soups without the cream
Nothing hits the spot like a bowl of hot soup on a cold winter's day. If you enjoy the creaminess of soups, you'll want to give this idea a try. You can create a wonderfully creamy soup just using white potatoes in place of milk, cream, coconut milk, etc. Not only do you bypass the addition of dairy or vegan substitutes, but your soup will last much longer in the fridge when you don't add a milk product to it. Potatoes work well for any cream soups like cream of mushroom, squash, carrot, etc. Just simply chop up a large potato and toss into the soup. Blend into a creamy texture as usual when it's all cooked.
A Cheesy alternative
Addicted to cheese? Most people are. Nutritional yeast makes a nice go-to alternative and is chock full of nutrition, hence the name, and is much easier to digest than cheese. Try sprinkling it on popcorn, veggies, mashed potatoes or pizza. Homemade perogies can even be made with nutritional yeast, using sweet potatoes to add a cheesey colour, garlic and onion spices and nutritional yeast. You can even make a cheese sauce with nutritional yeast.
Prunes provide an alternative for butter in baked goods and also reduce the fat content. Make a prune puree using 3/4 cups of pitted prunes with 1/4 cup of water. Substitute the butter with an equal amount of prune puree in dark baked goods.
Gluten-free bread crumbs
Typical store bought bread crumbs are often loaded with nasty ingredients, including hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, dough conditioners and preservatives. An easy way to make your own bread crumbs is by simply grinding up oat flakes in a Magic Bullet and adding any seasonings you like.
Homemade italian salad dressing
Want to save money while saving your health? Opt to make your own salad dressing - it's much cheaper, and better for you. A typical commercial Itlaian dressing is made from soybean and canola oil (cheap and genetically modified...unless otherwise stated), sugar, EDTA and other stuff that's hard to pronounce. A DIY dressing is so easy. Mix 1/2 cup of olive oil with 1/4 cup of white balsamic vinegar (or a blend of white balsamic vinegar and white wine vinegar) in a jar. Add a tablespoon or more of Italian seasoning. Shake and serve. I like to make my own Italian seasoning using basil, oregano, marjoram, onion powder, garlic powder and Himalyan salt. I make a big batch of the seasoning and keep it in a sealed jar, then spoon into my olive oil/vinegar blend. Doesn't get much easier than that!
Easiest way ever to dry herbs
The next time you have herbs in your kitchen that are starting to wilt, don't toss them in the trash. Dry them for later use. Drying your own herbs may sound like a chore, but it's the easiest task ever. Grab the bunch of herbs and tie twine around the stems. Hang in your kitchen for easy access. Hang off a rack, or even with a thumbtack on the wall. When you need dry herbs for your recipes, grab a stem and run your finger down the stem to remove the dried herb.
Swap out the butter on toast
Avocado spread on toast makes a yummy alternative to butter. Simply mash an avocado and use as a spread. Add salt and seasoning if desired.