Sweet, Sweet Sunday

11 More Uses for Mineral Oil

In addition to the various uses for mineral oil around the home that we just got through talking about, there are several uses for mineral oil for your own use also.

So a bottle of mineral oil is well worth the investment.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the uses for yourself.. 

 

1.Arthritis...Mineral oil can decrease the stiffness and reduce the pain of arthritis.

2. Babies…Mineral oil can be used to treat cradle cap, diaper rash, and many other types of skin irritation. In fact, baby oil as marketed to new mothers is mineral oil with added fragrance…and costs much less,

3. Constipation...Mineral oil can be used as a laxative to treat constipation and hemorrhoids. Mineral oil creates a film around the stools that makes passage of the stools through the colon much easier.

 

Cosmetics...Mineral oil is a common ingredients in many ointments and cold lotions, in addition to baby oil.

5. Ears…Mineral oil can also be used to treat earaches and to remove ear wax, Drop a few drops of warm mineral oil into your ears at night to melt any ear wax. Be sure to rinse your ear with warm water in the morning.

6. Eyes…Mineral oil can be used to remove any oil which has settled on your eyes and to help maintain the your eyelashes from busting and cracking.

7. Face…Mineral oil can be used for about ten minutes before using mineral oil makeup. The oil does not cause acne or blackheads, but works as a great moisturizer

8. Feet…Mineral oil can make your heels crack-free. Rub your feet with the oil and wear socks.

9. Hands,,, Mineral oil can be used to treat dry hands if you apply it throughout the day.

10. Paint…Mineral oil can be used to remove paint spots from your skin.

11. RadIation…Mineral oil can hhelp treat radiation skin burns,

 

 

 

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Seasoning and Maintaining Your New Wood Cutting Board

Before using a new wood cutting board, you should take the time to properly season your cutting board.

In fact, you should oil your boards about once a month in order to keep wood cutting boards in good condition.

 

 

Seasoning your wood cutting board regularly will help prevent staining, warping, and cracking.

 

When choosing an oil to season your board, you want to look for an oil that is inexpensive, easily available, and food-grade.

Mineral oil is the oil most commonly recommended oil for seasoning your wood cutting boards…more on this later…

 

Seasoning Your Wood Cutting Board

Heat the oil slightly.

Rub the oil into the board, rubbing in the “direction of the grain.”…yeah, I hate it when I’m told that also and usually have to ask someone to show me what that means…don’t feel like you’re all alone in this…jk…

Allow the oil to soak in for about thirty minutes.

After about thirty minutes, then decide if you need to rub even more oil onto the board.

In fact, the very first time you season your board, you need to do this about four to six times.

 

Other Ways to Maintain the Integrity of Your New Wood Cutting Board

In addition to this, you can use a cutting board refinisher, such as this tool from  Ace Mart from time to time. This will remove the top level of wood, along with its nicks and scratches, leaving you with a smooth surface again.

As far as taking care of your wood cutting boards on a routine basis, scrub the board with hot soapy water immediately after each use.  

 

 

Two more things to remember as far as taking care of wood cutting boards…

Never run your wood cutting boards through the dishwasher

Never let soak in water.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

On the Chopping Block

The first step in sauteeing your food is to cut whatever you’re going to saute into uniform, bite-size pieces…

And unless you totally want to ruin both your countertops and your knives, it is very important to invest in a decent cutting board.

As you are shopping for your new cutting board, it is important to consider several things—such as size, maintenance, material, and cost.

Size…As far as size, I have found that it is smart to have at least two different sized cutting boards—a small one for cutting up fruit and small vegetables—such as strawberries, lemons, and limes…and a larger one for everything else.

As far as the larger cutting board, a general rule of thumb is to buy a board that measures 15″x20″. 

You should be able to lay your knife diagonally on your cutting board and have at least 1″-2″ on either side of the knife.

Buying such a large board is great for several reasons, including…

  • allowing you to better control the board as well as the knife
  • being more comfortable in general
  • giving you plenty of room to work safely and effectively
  • making cutting both easier and safer
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Flat Bottomed Girls

Let’s start our look at the different cooking methods by first looking at sautéing, the method used to brown or sear food, especially vegetables such as bok choy.

Sautéing, unlike other cooking methods, involves quickly cooking food—such as onions and  green peppers—at relatively high temperatures in only a small amount of fat. This allows you to quickly brown the food without burning the food or steaming it.

The term sauté comes from the French term “sauter” which means “to jump.

First let’s see what utensils and tools you need for sautéing….starting with an…

8-10″ Stainless steel frying pan with a lid

It is better to invest in a few really good pans made from high quality materials if you would like to “kick it u a notch,” as Emeril says. Better cooking tools will help you get better results.

Choosing a high quality pan is one of the most important choices that you will make as far as buying cookware because you will be using this pan probably more often than any other pan in your kitchen.

The characteristics that you should be looking at whenever you are looking for the perfect saute pan include…

  • Cost and Value
  • Manufacturer Reputation
  • Materials
  • Size
  • Style

Here is a guideline to use whenever you are looking for the perfect sauté pan.

Size…As far as size, there are many different sizes available, but I find that I use my 12″ pan most frequently.

Bottom…The bottom should be thick and wide and flat…thick so that heat will be transmitted evenly without developing hot spots, wide so that food is not overcrowded, and flat so that the heat will be evenly distributed.

Sides…The sides of a sauté pan should be straight and low…straight so that liquids do not spil over the sides, low so that air circulates more freely around the pan and helps prevent food from getting soggy.

Handle…The handle of a saute an should be long enough to make it easy to shake the food back and forth while you are browning it.

You also need the handle to be sturdy and durable,…securely attached to the an securely by rivetes or long, sturdy screws. 

You need to be confident that the handle won’t fall off when working with it.

Look for handles that are “cool touch.” This allows you to hold onto the handle without getting burned, even though you should still always use oven mitts when using any pots with metal handles.

Lid…Your lid should fit tight.

Materials…When buying a sauté an, erhas the most imortant factor to consider is the “vonducivirtyy” of the material that it is made from.

Conducivity refers to how responsive the an is to the heat…

Does it get hot quickly?

Does it cool off just as fast?

Does it easily transmit heat from the heat source to the food easily, evenly, and efficiently?

Copper…The best choice as far as conductivity is copper, but copper can be super expensive and they’re a pain to keep shiny.

Anodized Aluminum…A much better choice, at least for most of us, would be anodized aluminum.  

These are great because they are easy to clean, have good heat transmission, and do not react negatively with certain foods—not to mention the fact that they cost a heck of lot less than copper.

Two other materials to consider are cast iron and stainless steel.

Usability…Always look for cookware that can be used on the stove, in the oven, in the freezer and can be washed in the dishwasher.

Because I am slowly adding or clearing out my collection of pots and other cookware based on cooking method, at this point the only thing that I need at this stage of building my “dream kitchen” is a 5-quart saute pan.

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Why Being Organized in the Kitchen Matters

As with any goal, you can spend way too much time…

  • analyzing every tool offered online
  • dreaming that the job was already done
  • talking to others
  • thinking about what would be the best way to get started
  • reading every article and book in sight about your goal
  • wishing that someone else could or would do It for you 

 

All with the same result…

Never getting anything done

 

 

So even though you don’t have the perfect plan written down yet and are not sure exactly how it’s going to work out, the best way to learn is by doing….

 

 

The same can be said about organizing your kitchen.

But organizing your kitchen will give you even more time to…

  • analyze every tool offered online
  • dream that the job was already done
  • talk to others
  • think about what would be the best way to get started
  • read every article and book in sight about your goal
  • wish that someone else could or would do It for you 

 

So why get off the couch when you’re comfortably watching HGTV or DIY Network, and get into your own kitchen trash-bag-in-hand instead?

 

Several reasons…

First of all, having an organized kitchen will save you valuable time as you are cleaning and cooking.

For one thing, you will be able to find something when you need it, without having to search for items that should be readily available.

 

Another reason for organizing your kitchen is to use all of your available work space because you are not having to work around clutter and chaos. 

Having a certain designated ‘home’ for all of your kitchen ingredients and tools will also make it easier to put things away when you’re cleaning up.

Making dinner every night will be quicker and easier…meaning that you will have more quality time each evening to be with your spouse and kids.

Not only that, you will also have more time to do those things that you reallxy want to do to unwind after a long day at work.

 

 

So as we start digging our way out of kitchen clutter and chaos, I thought this would be a great time to share the following list of questions that I use when setting goals, regardless what kind of goal I may be setting… 


1.  THE WHO…Talk to other people about your goals. This will make you feel both more excited and more committed.

  • Who benefits the most from me achieving this goal?
  • Who can help me achieve it? Who else is or should be involved?
  • Who else believes in me and my ability to reach this goal?
  • Who will support me? Who probably won’t support me? 

   
2.  THE WHAT…First of all, write down specific goals that you want to achieve. Keep your list of goals in front of you. Frame them if you want.

  • What is my biggest passion and dream in life? What one wildly bold goal would I like to accomplish that would truly inspire me to get up each morning?
  • What do I want to accomplish? What will success look like?
  • What is the probability of ever reaching this goal?
  • What is the biggest obstacle hindering me from achieving my goals? 
  • What skills, tools, and resources do I need to acquire or master?
  • What is my next step? 

 

3.  THE WHEN…Focus on immediate tasks…only your tasks for today and the week ahead of you…so that you do not get discouraged or overwhelmed. Now, perhaps the most important task—get organized. Break larger goals into smaller tasks. Set up a plan or schedule. Break down the year into months, and then create specific action steps for each week. 

  • When can I find the time to do whatever it takes to reach this goal?
  • When would be a realistic time for me to have reached this goal?
  • When will there be enough information to know if and when I should set new goals?
  • When will I start working toward this goal?

 

4.  THE WHERE

  • Where do I want to be this time next year?
  • Where will I acquire the necessary knowledge?
  • Where will my goal be accomplished? 
  • Where have I written my “chosen frozen” goals down so that they can become something tangible to focus on, evaluate, and refine on a regular basis?

 

5.  THE HOW…Choose appropriate milestones and benchmarks for your particular goal. Reward yourself whenever you reach a milestone or benchmark.

  • How will I benefit from reaching this goal? 
  • How will I stay focused during the process? 
  • How will the business be different one year from now?
  • How will this goal be achieved?
  • How does this deadline influence your daily activities?
  • How should I best spend my time, instead wasting time on unrelated, unimportant, non-strategic activities?



6.  THE WHY… Schedule a weekly check in with yourself. Evaluate what’s working and what’s not. Remind yourself why you set these goals in the first place. 

  • Why am I going to do this in the first place?
  • Why am I willing to invest time, energy, and money in doing this? 
  • Why is achieving this goal so important to me? 
  • Why is reaching this goal important? 

 

 

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”— Maya Angelou

 

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Essential Oil of the Month—March 2018—Bergamot

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

When I first heard of bergamot essential oil and found out that it was a citrus fruit, my initial reaction was, “Gee, I’ve never heard of that before. Let’s go to Sprouts and go buy some bergamot oranges.”

But nestled among all the other citrus fruits, there was no sign of the bergamot orange.

Perhaps because the bergamot orange itself is inedible? Kinda like the penguin who can’t fly in the bird world, right?!

Anyway, bergamot essential oil is extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, a fragrant citrus fruit that is the size of an orange and has a taste that is much sweeter than your typical lemon.

The bergamot orange is the most delicate of the citrus plants, requiring the special climate and soil found mainly in the Mediterranean. For this reason, most of the oranges used to make bergamot essential oil will have been harvested from trees located in the Ionian Sea coastal areas of the province of Reggio di Calabria in the southern part of Italy. Considering that the production of three ounces of bergamot oil requires one hundred bergamot oranges, there must be too many trees there to count(?!)…

 

If you’re like me, you’ve been enjoying the benefits and taste of bergamot for years without even realizing it. This is because an essence from the skin of the bergamot orange is extracted and used to give Earl Grey tea its distinctively citrus aroma and flavor.

And even though the bergamot orange is supposedly inedible, the bergamot orange is still used in Italian cooking to make Turkish delight and marmalade such as this recipe from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders.

 

 

 

As far as essential oils are concerned, bergamot has a very strong, very sweet citrus-based scent with a hint of florals and a strange spiciness. It is considered to be uplifting and relaxing, and blends particularly well with sandalwood, jasmine, and rosemary.

 

As far as the best uses for bergamot essential uses, here are a few of the best reasons to open the bottle…(no, not that bottle of whiskey or gin…the bottle of essential oil that you only spent how much for(?!))…

 

1. Aches and Pains...Bergamot essential oil stimulates the secretion of certain hormones which lessen the sensitivity of nerves to pain and help reduce the feeling of pain in the body. This makes bergamot essential oil an excellent choice for using topically when you are seeking quick relief from muscle cramps and headaches.

 

2.  Anxiety…Bergamot stimulates the activity of certain hormones in the body, like dopamine and serotonin, and improves blood circulation. This makes bergamot essential oil a good choice when you are looking for an essential oil that will help the most in relieving stress and anxiety, and soothing frazzled nerves…and helping to treat stress-associated ailments such as high blood pressure, insomnia, and depression.

 

3.  Cardiovascular Disease…The iconic coast of Italy in the Calabria region, where the bergamot orange is grown, is an area where people have experienced low incidents of cardiovascular diseases for generations. The soil in the region supposedly has some secret “fountain on youth” potion that results in the fruits and vegetables having been grown there, such as the bergamot orange, positively affecting your cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, HDL and blood glucose level.

 

4.  Deodorants…The refreshing aroma and natural cleansing/disinfectant properties of bergamot oil make this an excellent choice whenever you are considering which essential oil to be used in deodorant or household cleaners and air fresheners.

 

5.  Digestive System…According to traditional Chinese medicine, bergamot essential oil is the best treatment for keeping your your digestive system work properly. So if you’re needing anything pertaining to your digestive system and pooping mechanisms—indigestion, gas, constipation—this is probably the essential oil of choice.

 

6.  Respiratory…Bergamot essential oil is one of the best essential oils for anyone suffering from respiratory problems or asthma…

Honestly, this is the one essential oil that I made a special trip to Whole Foods to buy as soon as we completed last month’s journey to Cook’s Children’s Hospital after the “resident four year old” had an asthma attack.

Much rather breathe in bergamot and cough up that phlegm and mucus, than breathe in a deep sigh of relief when you finally leave the pediatric ward and have to cough up enough to pay for an ambulance ride and two night vacation with room service.

Might be using bergamot in my diffuser for a long, long while now…

 

7.  Skincare…Bergamot is used extensively in such cosmetic and skincare products as creams, lotions, shampoos, soaps, cleansers, and perfume. In fact, about one-third of all men’s and about half of women’s perfumes contain bergamot essential oil.

One main reason that bergamot is used in these products is its ability to help more evenly distribute pigments and melanin when used to help heal marks on the skin, such as wounds and scars and acne. Using bergamot topically to treat such marks allows these marks to gradually fade away into a more even, attractive skin tone instead of leaving noticeable scars on the affected areas for many years.

Also, bergamot acts as an antiseptic agent that allows for fast healing of not only wounds as previously mentioned, but also helps heal cracked heels, ulcers, and eczema.

 

Bergamot Rollerball Stress Mess…Combine 3 drops grapefruit essential oil, 2 drops frankincense essential oil, and 2 drops bergamot essential oil in a dark rollerball bottle. Fill remainder of bottle with a light carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil. Apply to pulse points as needed. Store in a cool, dark place.