Sweet, Sweet Sunday

10 More Uses for Mineral Oil Around Your Home

As we start building our kitchen one item at a time and crawling our way along the Raw Foods pyramid at a snail’s pace, so far we only have three items in our dream home…

  • A saute pan
  • A spatula
  • A cutting board

And in the last post we saw that we should also buy some mineral oil to keep our boards in good shae,…

But sorry, as a minimalist on a budget, I am so not gonna buy mineral oil just to kee my cutting board in working condition…

There has to be way more reasons to fork over money on mineral oil, regardless of how chea it may be, than to rub on cutting boards.

So I did some research to find what else I can use mineral oil for, and was surrised to find just how useful mineral oil can be…both around the home and around to take better care of myself and my family.

First let’s take a look at how mineral oil can be used around the home, other than taking care of your cutting boards…

1.Adhesives…Mineral oil is the one thing that can be used to remove stickers, bumper stickers, adhesive tape, price tags…as well as any residue that may be left behind.

2. Essential Oil Diffuser…Mineral oil can be used as a carrier oil when using essential oils in your diffuser.

3. Knives…Before you leave your kitchen and move to other rooms in your house with your brand new bottle of mineral oil, take the time to use the mineral oil to clean and maintain your kitchen knives. This will create a barrier against any moisture in your home’s atmosphere and also help keep knives rust-free.

. Laundry…Mineral oil can be used as a pre-wash treatment for stained clothes. 

5. Leather…Mineral oil can be used to clean your leather surfaces, such as leather shoes. Before doing this, first rub a small amount of the oil onto a small area of the item to make sure that the oil doesn’t affect the color of your leather. Once you’re sure that the mineral oil will not damage the surface, rub the leather surface with the oil and wait for about thirty minutes before buffing the leather with a clean, soft cloth.

6. Linoleum…Mineral oil not only is great for wood and metal surfaces, but also for refreshing the color of your faded linoleum kitchen counters. Just let it be known that even though mineral oil does refresh the color of faded linoleum for about three weeks before fading, and that constant application of mineral oil to linoleum will make it break down…so only do this for special occasions such as holiday parties when you really need your kitchen to look extra-gorgeous.

7. Metal…In addition to wood surfaces around your home, mineral oil is also great for metal surfaces, such as your stainless steel kitchen appliances and preventing rust on metal furniture, such as your outdoor table and chairs.

8. Noises…Mineral oil can help reduce the noise around your house—such as noises from squeaking doors and creaky floors.

9. Stainless Steel…Mineral oil is great for shining your stainless-steel sinks, appliances and countertops. Pour a few drops of the oil onto a clean, soft cloth…and then wipe the surface until you have a smudge-free shine.

10. Wood…It kinda goes without saying that if mineral oil is good for your cutting boards, it’s good for other wood stuff around your house also—such as wooden handles of kitchen cooking utensils, salad bowls, and wood furniture.

In fact, mineral oil can be used instead of your normal store-bought furniture polish to help preserve and protect wooden furniture.

To make your own furniture polish, combine 2C mineral oil and the juice from a lemon.

Advertisements
Uncategorized

Salad Dressing…Oh What a Blessing…

  •  
  •    

Finally now that you’ve gotten the best salad greens and the best vegetables into your bowl, what do you have?

Just a bowl of salad greens and vegetables, right?

What makes a salad actually a salad is salad dressing.

And what makes countless other foods—such as wings, pizza, breadsticks, chicken nuggets, French fries, sandwiches, subs, and burgers.

There are countless salad dressings available, but most salad dressing fall into one of two categories—mayonnaise based salad dressing or vinaigrettes.

“Creamy” salad dressings usually use mayonnaise or some other “creamy” ingredie1nt—such as yogurt, crème fraiche or sour cream—as  the main ingredient.

The most common creamy dressing, obviously to most of us, is Ranch.

 

 

Vinaigrettes. on the other hand, are a mixture of oil, vinegar, and  other ingredients—such as hazelnut, fruit juice, mustard, spices, herbs, lemon juice, basil, parsley, and oregano.

The most common vinaigrettes include…

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Dijon Vinaigrette
  • Greek
  • Italian
  • Strawberry Poppyseed

But don’t limit yourself to these traditional dressings. Feel free to try other things also—such as traditional dips, guacamole, hummus, and salsas.

 

Things to Remember…

If you are making your own salad dressing, use the highest-quality ingredients that you can find.

Salad dressing can make your healthy salad just as fattening, if not even more fattening, than a Big Mac. Remember this when you are choosing your salad dressing as well as using your dressing on a salad. 

Serve the salad immediately after using the dressing. Otherwise your salad will wilt.

 

Toss your salad gently but thoroughly, making sure that you do not totally crush or ruin your leafy greens and other ingredients.,

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Share the Challenge

As this new year begins, I have decided to get serious about getting our house in order

Recently I stumbled upon this challenge on organizing one section of your house each week.

This first week we were challenged to clear our counters and sinks.

Honestly this has never been that much of a trouble to keep organized…clean, no…organized, yes…

It drives me crazy to see a bunch of junk on my kitchen counters.

If there is only one area of my house that gets cleaned on a given day, it would definitely be my kitchen counters.

As far as the rest of my kitchen goes, it depends on how the rest of my day is going.

The first few weeks of this challenge revolve entirely around the kitchen…figuring out how best to organize our kitchens for…

  • Cooking (also including food preparation)
  • Eating
  • Family and friends hang out area
  • Family calendar and control central
  • Food storage (both cold storage and pantry)
  • Home office, bill paying center, and/or home mail organizer center
  • Home recycling center
  • Homework area
  • Recipe and cookbooks

My hope is to share my before and after pictures with you as I begin this challenge, and to find other like-minded people to hold me accountable throughout the year.

Join me on this journey…

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s Next?

When I started this blog, I had no intention of turning this into yet another food blog. There are enough of those out there already.

Instead I wanted to talk about my journey to take our family to a more minimalistic and healthier lifestyle, especially since my husband was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Some of the topics that I have learned more about so far in this journey have included…

  • How to deal with insomnia
  • Which cruelty-free products in my daily so-called “beauty” routine
  • What clothes to include as you switch to a minimalistic capsule wardrobe
  • How to read nutritional labels
  • What foods you can eat on a Raw Foods Pyramid

Even so, changing our lifestyle from the typical “Deep South” menu where everything is deep-fried or has lots and lots of cheese and heavy cream on it has taken priority right now.

So in these next few posts I’m going to be looking at the next rung of the Raw Foods Pyramid…

Leafy Greens…

Growing up in the Deep South, I never thought that I would actually enjoy eating, much less, cooking…things like turnip greens or collard greens. But now I actually enjoy eating them…especially when they’re served with lots and lots of bacon.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that adults consume at least three cups of dark green vegetables each week.

Thankfully, there are several varieties of leafy greens out there…I find the idea of eating three cups of mustard greens or collard greens still repulsive, but my Mom would be so glad that I actually do eat them now instead of feeding to the dog while she wasn’t looking.

So which ones should you choose and how do you use these before they sit too long in your food rotter, if you’re anything like me…

All leafy are packed with important and powerful nutrients, and most can also be found year round. This makes adding them to your menu for the week quite an easy task.

As far as nutritional value, all leafy greens are typically low in calories and fat….and high in protein per calorie, dietary fiber, vitamin C, pro-vitamin A carotenoids, folate, manganese and vitamin K.

Studies have shown that eating leafy greens may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 percent, a fact that I wish that I’d known when I first got married 32 years ago. Leafy greens have also been shown to improve your eyesight, bone health and skin elasticity while helping your blood to clot normally.

And even better, there are so many more varieties that can keep you from feeling like you are simply eating the required bowl of bagged salad every single night, night after night…

Some options that we will be taking a look at are…

  • Arugula
  • Beet Greens
  • Bok Choy
  • Boston (Butterhead)
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Collard Greens
  • Edible Green Leaves
  • Endive
  • Iceberg
  • Kale
  • Microgreens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Rapini (Broccoli Rabe)
  • Romaine
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Turnip Greens
  • Watercress

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s In My…School Backpack of Our “Resident Four Year Old”

Today the “resident four year old” starts pre-k for the fall…a moment that any fifty year old chasing a four year old 24/7 looks forward to all summer long.

I imagine that I will drop him off and then come home and sleep until it’s time to pick him back up…I’ll let you know…

So even though he’s only in pre-K and doesn’t need too many things to take with him to school other than his lunch, a stuffed animal, and a nap-pad…(oh year, teachers…good luck getting him to take a nap)…this made me think about upgrading out school and office supplies to more environmentally friendly options.

Even school and office supplies can be unfriendly to the environment, as well as toxic…

A few of the toxic chemicals that are sometimes included in school and office supplies include…

  • asbestos (a known carcinogen) in crayons
  • benzene (a probable carcinogen) in dry-erase markers
  • lead (a neurotoxin) in children’s water bottles
  • phthalates (linked to hormone and developmental problems) in 3-ring binders

Not only that many of the companies that make school and office supplies are not cruelty-free.

So it’s important to think about things like that instead of simpy running to Dollar General and buying the cheapest items so that you can cross them off that dreaded back-to-school school supply shopping list this year…

A few trains of thought as far as shopping for school and supplies include…

1.Backpacks…As far as backpacks are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose natural materials, such as cotton or hemp. Never choose PVC plastic at all costs.

2.  Crayons and Markers…As far as crayons are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose crayons that are composed from beeswax and soy products. Always avoid cheap crayons which may be laced with asbestos.

3. Lunch Boxes…As far as lunch boxes are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose reusable and durable, PVC-free lunch bags and lunch boxes that will last more than one season. Another great options, especially for adults, would be stainless steels. But whatever you do, avoid using plastic baggies and plastic wrap. Invest in a stainless steel water bottle….(I will look at a few more great options as well as ideas as to what to put in your lunch boxes in a future post).

4. Markers…As far as markers are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose water based markers. Many permanent markers contains chemicals such as xylene, toluene, and other VOCs…which stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, my “one new thing learned at school today” for today.

5. Paper…As far as loose-leaf paper, notebooks, and binders are concerned, the main train of thought should be to shop for items made with recycled paper, and binders that either do not have a plastic cover or are clearly labeled PVC-free.

6. Pencils and Pens…As far as pencils and pens are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose pencils that are made from recycled materials or wood from sustainably managed forest…and pens made from recycled plastic.

Thankfully there are sources for better school and office supplies that you would typically find at the local dollar store…sure, they may be more expensive…and honestly, these options might not be way more expensive…but depending on how committed you are or are not about the above concerns in all areas of your family’s life, you may want to get out your debit card so that you can buy some really cool new gadgets for the new school year.

Finally, some really great places online to shop or at least browse at these other options include…

Beginning with Breakfast, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Yes, Actually You CAN Take It With You

Now that we’ve established the fact that all of us should be drinking more water and talked about a few ways to make drinking water more of a habit, let’s look at a few of the things that will make this goal easier to achieve.

Sure, you could simply buy bottled water, more on which kinds of bottled water to buy later, but having a portable water bottle that you can carry with you everywhere you go is a much smarter option. In fact, using reusable water bottles…

  • does not create the litter that typical water bottles do. More than thirty billion water bottles are consumed every year…and most of those empty bottles end up eventually stockpiled in landfills.
  • saves you money. Tap water costs 240 to 10,000 times less than bottles water. Last year, people dumped thirty-eight billion water bottles into landfills worldwide.
  • is environmental-friendly. Bottled water production consumes over one thousand times more energy than tap water.
  • saves water. Producing one liter of bottled water actually requires three liters of ordinary municipal water.
  • makes you a smarter consumer…ordinary tap water and then making the consumer think that they are getting some super-water with extraordinary powers to cure what ails you. Wrong!!! Shockingly, 24% of bottle water is actually just repackaged tap water.

Seems like such an easy option, until you start looking at the different options available.

So how do you know which water bottle to choose?

By thinking about the different types and features of reusable water bottles so that you can make a good decision once you get to the store.

 

Materials…The first factor to consider when choosing the perfect water bottle in what the bottle is made from. Water bottles can be found in many different materials—including aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, polyethylene, and copolyester.

 

1.Plastic…The first material that portable water bottles can be made from, and the first material that comes to most of us when we think of them, is plastic. Benefits of using plastic bottles include…

  • affordable
    can repeatedly drop one without worrying about breaking or shattering it
    can take just about whatever abuse you give them
    easy to tote around
    incredibly durable
    lightweight
    readily available
    travel

Brands To Consider

  • Fit & Fresh
  • GOBIEH20
  • Nalgene

 

2. Metal…Metal options include stainless steel and aluminum, and are ideal for those who are tough on their water bottles. Benefits of using metal water bottles include…
  • doesn’t retain smells and tastes
  • double-wall construction that gives them outstanding insulating properties
  • keeps water cool for an extended period of time
  • keeps water fresh tasting, but some absorb heat and make the water warm
  • provides better insulation than plastics
  • very durable

Brands To Consider

    • Earth Lust
    • Hydro Flask
    • Klean Kanteen

 

3. Glass Bottles…A third option for water bottles is glass. Benefits of using glass reusable water bottles include being totally recyclable. Brands of reusable glass bottles include…

  • bottlesUP
  • Life Factory
  • Love Bottle
  • Takeya

In addition to first choosing which material you would like your water bottle to be, there are other questions that you should ask yourself, including…

Easy to Carry

  • Does the water bottle have a belt holster that can hold your water bottle if you participate in activities where you need to be hands-free or if you just get tired of carrying a water bottle?
  • Will the bottle be easy to carry?

 

Easy to Clean

  • Is it dishwasher-safe? Can washing the bottle in the dishwasher actualy clean the inside thoroughly or does it have to be hand washed?
  • If you will have to wash the bottle by hand, is the opening wide enough to get a bottle brush inside them in order to clean it?

 

Opening…In addition to checking the neck of the bottle to make sure that it will be easy to clean, ask yourself if the mouth of the bottle will be easy to fill with ice cubes and water…

 

Drinking Valve…

  • Does the valve lock securely enough to prevent the bottle from leaking?
  • Is the valve wide enough to provide optimal flow?
  • Does the water bottles come with a push-pull valve or a bite valves?
  • Which type of valve do you prefer?
  • Insulators
  • – Some water bottles come with sleeves that help keep your drink warm or cold. This comes in handy depending on your walking or hiking weather conditions. A nice, cold drink is a definite plus on a hot, summer day.

 

Size

  • How many ounces will the bottle hold?
  • How many ounces does your ideal bottle need to hold?
  • Will you have a source of water nearby, such as a water fountain, to use if and when you need to refill the bottle?
  • Will the bottle fit in the cup holders in your car?

 

 

Filter

  • Does the bottle have an in-bottle filtration system that will allow you to refill the bottle from any faucet or other source and be certain that your water will be clean and tasty?
  • Does this water filter make the bottle too heavy to be usable?
  • How easy is it to replace the filter?

 

 

 

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Now What?!

IMG_4473-1

Okay, I have ADHD…I keep getting off track from my original plans and ideas…Happens all the time…Welcome to my world!!!

Anyway, my original plan in writing this blog was to talk about the changes that I am making in each step of my day to live a more minimalistic, simpler, and healthier lifestyle.

The first topic that I highlighted was Taking the Perfect Shower. Taking the perfect shower or bath is important because that is one of the best ways to prepare for a “good” night’s sleep, get rid of any “bad” moments of the day that you just went through, and help you from being stinky and “ugly.”

The next topic that I highlighted was Getting a Good Night’s Sleep. So many of suffer from insomnia and have bad nighttime habits—such as staying up way past midnight and midnight munching. Yet a good night’s sleep is important because…

From there I moved into the topic of the Raw Foods Diet and why it is important to stop eating processed foods and to start eating healthier in general. That is where I feel like I got sidetracked.

We all get the point. In order to improve our health and get more energy to chase a “resident four year” old, there are certain things that we must do—such as cut processed foods out of our diets and replace sugar with healthier substitutes.

But how do these facts affect our daily lives? Sometimes too much information can be overload. So instead of remaining on my textbook-like journey, I’d like to pause my “What Next” segment on the Raw Foods Diet…or at least not necessarily pause it, but to break this segment into four different “What Next” segments…

  • What’s for Breakfast?
  • What’s for Lunch?
  • What’s for Dinner?
  • I’m Still Hungry!!!

So let’s start with “What’s for Breakfast?”…

Why do we even need to eat breakfast in the first place? Won’t skipping breakfast allow me to hit the snooze button on my alarm clock enough times to get some more rest that I won’t need breakfast at all.

Wrong!

There are so, so, so many reasons that we should all be eating breakfast, but instead of dwelling on these reasons in order to avoid starting to sound too much like a textbook again, let’s look simply at what we should be eating and accept the fact that we should be eating in the first place.

So what should we be eating for breakfast?

This is the second step in my creating a Master Grocery List for my family. The first list of foods that I should keep on hand can be found on my Midnight Snacking post about what to eat before bed in order to help you sleep. 

Now let’s add to this Master Grocery List by focusing on what we should actually be eating for breakfast.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Cedarwood Essential Oil—The What?!

Cedarwood essential oil is extracted from the wood pieces of a cedar tree, including any recycled and repurposed wood chips.

Cedarwood essential oils can be derived from several types of tree.

Typically, there are four major species of cedarwood used in the production of cedarwood essential oils. These evergreen conifers include…

    • Atlas
    • Himalayan
    • Texas
    • Virginia

The essential oil is created by the process of steam distillation.

As far as aroma, cedarwood has a warm, woodsy aroma that is comforting and reassuring. The oil is often used to add a warm tone to perfumes and oil mixtures.

As far as blending, cedarwood oil blends well with the following oils…

 

  • Benzoin
  • Bergamot
  • Cinnamon
  • Cypress
  • Frankincense
  • Jasmine
  • Juniper
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Neroli
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Ravensara
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
  • Sandalwood
  • Thyme
  • Vetiver

 

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Essential Essential Oil Essentials

Way back in March, I had decided to choose one essential oil per month and discover just exactly what this particular oil is, what it’s used for, and so forth.

Well, this hasn’t happened…

So my goal in these next few posts is to catch up on these oils so that I can hopefully stick with my original goal of highlighting one essential oil per month.

Having written this blog for a short while, it seems like the “Muffins and Magnolias” mission has become…

—to begin living a healthier lifestyle and develop new habits that will simplify and improve your quality of life every single day.

I really believe that this is important, and that everyone—or at least almost everyone—wants to accomplish and learn about how to do this.

I also believe that developing the habit of using the right essential oils for the right purpose can be an important part of achieving this goal.

We began our venture into the world of essential oils with a list of the best essential oils for helping to cure insomnia. These essential oils are…

  1. Bergamot
  2. Cedarwood
  3. Frankincense
  4. Juniper Berry
  5. Lavender
  6. Marjoram
  7. Roman Chamomile
  8. Sandalwood
  9. Vetiver
  10. Ylang Ylang

This last series of posts about sugar substitutes and processed foods is starting to become to academic and serious…I need to take a short break from this topic myself, especially today while I will be preparing desserts for our 4th of July cookout tomorrow, right?!

So join me as we catch up on these essential oils that should have been included in posts from the last four months–cedarwood, frankincense, juniper berry, and lavender…and don’t feel guilty about eating that entire gallon of Blue Bell all by self tomorrow…I won’t…

 

Getting Healthy, Instruments, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Coconut Sugar

Okay, so now that I’ve started shopping at stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods, I think that I’ve seen every product imaginable made from coconut and learned several really good reasons to keep a good supply of castile soap and coconut oil on hand, so why does it surprise me that the almighty coconut can also be used as a sugar substitute.

Coconut sugar, made by drying out the sugary sap of coconut trees, has been used for centuries in many countries, including Indonesia and Cambodia.

This syrupy liquid has a taste much like brown sugar…and though coconut sugar

may often be more expensive than regular granulated sugar, coconut sugar is a much better option than many other sweeteners currently found on the market.

Coconut juice, which is where a lot of coconut sugar comes from, is full of potassium, electrolytes and nutrients…coconut sugar has many benefits that you will not find in regular table sugar, it may require large amounts to really make a positive affect.

Like plain white sugar, coconut sugar contains vitamins, minerals, trace elements—such as iron, zinc, calcium, potassium—as well as short-chain fatty acids, polyphenols, antioxidants, and phytonutrients—such as polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanidins—that help reduce blood sugar, inflammation, and cholesterol.

Coconut sugar also contains about twice as much iron and zinc as the same amount of granulated table sugar…as well as 25% DV of potassium per four ounces…(okay, when you sit down to eat 1/2C of coconut sugar at one sitting, please call me…right?!)

Another reason that coconut sugar is better for diabetics than regular table sugar is the fact that it contains inulin, a fiber that helps slow glucose absorption and keep glucose levels in check.

Just like coconut oil and coconut water, coconut sugar is becoming a very popular item at health food stores across America. Coconut sugar is being used to sweeten everything from coffee and tea…to cookies, cakes, and pies.

The American Diabetes Association states that even though coconut sugar is a great alternative sweetener for those with diabetes to use, coconut sugar has the same calories as regular sugar and should be used in moderation.

When shopping for coconut sugar, remember that many products that are available on the shelf combine both regular sugar and coconhttps://www.texanerin.com/perfect-paleo-chocolate-chip-cookies/ut sugar…so remember to take time to check the label before tossing the coconut sugar into your cart. Avoid these brands.

Also take the time to look for organic coconut sugar that is unrefined, vegan, non-GMO.

So  I AM adding coconut sugar to my routine grocery list or tossing it out the window as another “What Not to Eat Now That You’re a Diabetic” item?

As far as the following Chocolate Chip Cookies made from coconut sugar, not sure if they’re really healthy or not…

But they taste great!!!