Health and Safety

Spice Tea – Yummy Cold and Flu Blaster

Posted by on Dec 6, 2015 in Health, Recipes | 40 comments

Spice Tea – Yummy Cold and Flu Blaster

Since the cold weather has arrived I’ve replaced my morning smoothie with this Spice Tea, a variation of the popular Chai Tea. It’s made with everyday spices selected for their immunity boosting properties and specifically aimed at keeping colds and flu away. A great thing about this Spice Tea mix is that the ingredients are everyday spices and products found in most homes thereby eliminating the need to run to specialty stores. The basic Spice Tea Mix contains the following ground spices: 1 Tbsp. each of – Allspice and Cloves 1/4 cup each of – Cardamom and Nutmeg 1/2 cup each of – Cinnamon and Ginger Contents from 16 Tea Bags – Can be black or green Mix everything together and store in air-tight jar in a dark location. This makes slightly less than two cups or about 28 tablespoons mix. To make a pot of Spice Tea: 2 cups milk – whole, soy (best for lowering cholesterol) or rice milk (most hypoallergenic) may be used 2 cups water 2 – 3 tsp. raw honey 3-4 Tbsp. spice tea mix, more or less depending on personal taste. (Best contained, see note below). Directions: Put all the ingredients in a medium size saucepan and slowly bring to a boil. Let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the spice bag(s) and pour into a teapot (or straight into cups if preferred) and serve. Lightly sprinkle with favourite spice – our spice of choice is cinnamon, it really is yummy. NOTE: The first time I made this I added the loose spice mix right to the liquid in the pan. That was a mistake. I didn’t realize that the spices would expand the way they do and ended up with such a thick mixture that only half of it would go through the strainer. Because of my herbs I always have a quantity of self-sealing tea bags around and use them to make up spice tea bags ahead of time, filling them loosely to allow room for expansion.  The  large tea bag (pot size) is filled with 1/4 cup mix and the smaller ones use 3/4 Tbsp. mix. The same could be done using squares of cheesecloth, as shown. The packages will still need to be stored in an air-tight jar in a dark location. To make Spice Tea for one: 1/2 cup milk – whole, soy or rice milk 1/2 cup water Dab of raw honey 1 to 1 1/2  Tbsp. spice tea mix (2 tea bags). Directions: As above. Health Benefits of the Spice Tea components: BLACK TEA – Helps prevent cardiovascular disease; controls cholesterol; protects HDL the good cholesterol; strengthens the immune system; rich in the antioxidants that help cut the risk of cancer; promotes a general feeling of well-being. ALLSPICE – Soothes symptoms of colds and flu; relieves stomach related problems – constipation, flatulence, indigestion, vomiting; eases menstrual cramping; stabilizes blood pressure and blood sugar levels; anti-bacterial, kills germs on teeth and gums, relieves tooth ache. CARDAMOM – Immune system booster; soothes mucous membranes and lessens respiratory allergies; improves blood circulation; relieves stomach related problems – flatulence, heartburn, nausea, vomiting; increases appetite; supports the digestive system. CINNAMON – Natural pain reliever; fights colds, flu and sore throats; anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-fungal; stimulates circulation; helps detoxify the body; helps balance blood sugar levels; lowers cholesterol; helps relieve stomach problems – nausea, diarrhea; lessens menstrual cramps; calming agent. CLOVES – High in antioxidants that help support the immune system. An expectorant, helps clear mucous membranes and cut phlegm; warming, soothes symptoms of flu and colds; pain reliever – relieves toothaches...

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Lip Balm – So Many Uses, So Easy to Make

Posted by on Nov 22, 2015 in Common Products - Uncommon Uses, Health, Recipes | 42 comments

Lip Balm – So Many Uses, So Easy to Make

Now that the cold weather has arrived many of us will have a lip balm tucked in purse or pocket. It works great at keeping those lips soft and kissable. But did you know that it’s also very useful in many different situations? And did you also know how easy it is to make your own all-natural lip balm that works better than many expensive products? Lip Balm for Skin Care: Winter cold and indoor heat combine to leave skin dry and cracked. Sometimes that needed lotion just isn’t available which isn’t a problem as long as lip balm is handy. Smooth lip balm over nail beds to moisturize rough cuticles; Smooth out those rough, scratchy elbows; Moisturizes and heals chapped hands, fingers and knuckles. Protect skin from windburn – apply a generous layer all over exposed skin; Protect from sunburn – does not have any SPF but good as an emergency use for short periods; Lip Balm for Grooming: The homemade lip balm (recipe below) is very much a gentle healing ointment. Soothes and moisturizes that fragile area underneath the eye; Gently removes eye makeup; Minimized fine lines around the eye; Blend with a little eye-shadow to make eye gloss; Remove mascara smudges; Protect your skin before colouring hair – first add a layer of lip balm to the hairline; Combat frizz and flyaway hair – put a dab on a finger and pat the hair down; Smooths eyebrows – keeps those stray hairs in place; Grooms the mustache and keeps it looking the way it should. Lip Balm for Emergency First-Aid: Dab a bit on a small cut to stop the bleeding and prevent infection; Prevent blisters from forming by applying a generous amount on the rubbed-raw area; Nursing mothers can relieve soreness by rubbing lip balm on nipples; Protect healing scars from sunburn; Soothe irritated skin from colds or allergies by applying some lip balm with a tissue in and around the nose. Lip Balm around the House: Keep zippers zipping smooth by running lip balm up and down the zipper a few times; Dab on a small hole in an umbrella – waterproof too; Lubricate drawer tracks with lip balm; Wipe lip balm all around the thread of light bulbs before screwing into the outdoor fixture – makes the bulbs much easier to remove; Remove label residue – leave it on for a few minutes to work, then wipe off; Coat screws and nails to ease them into wood; Unexpected meeting and your shoes are scuffed? No problem, simply put some lip balm on a tissue and wipe; Put a dab on the knot of shoelaces to keep them tied; Protect a dog’s paws by applying lip balm before heading out in the winter. Great little multitasker, right? Now for the recipe. All the ingredients can be found at a good health food store.Homemade Lip Balm – Ingredients: 2 Tbsp. beeswax, grated 2 Tbsp. coconut oil 1 Tbsp. cocoa butter (this can be replaced by shea or mango butter) 3 vitamin e capsules 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract or any other pure extract of choice – I used peppermint. Directions: Put the grated beeswax, coconut oil and cocoa butter into a measuring cup Boil 1 cup of water in a small pan that is large enough to hold the measuring cup – once the water is boiling, remove from heat, place a canning ring on the bottom of the pan, set the measuring cup on top of the canning ring and return to low heat until everything is melted together Remove from heat and, using...

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Winter Readiness Checklist

Posted by on Oct 4, 2015 in Health and Safety, Product Information | 39 comments

Winter Readiness Checklist

This post – Winter Readiness Checklist – was actually going to be about cleaning up the Herb garden, but then I thought “Who will care?” Real gardeners have their own methods and non-gardeners will see the topic and leave. Therefore with my original plan shot down I decided to still focus on Fall chores, but include all the tasks that need to be done to be ready for winter. Yes, there is the yard cleanup – failing to tend to flower-beds and herb/vegetables gardens at this time is just asking for bug and weed problems in the Spring – so that must be done. If you live in an area with deciduous trees, like we do with having four huge maples surrounding the house, the leaves do need to be cleaned up. There is also the matter of cleaning the lawn and garden tools/equipment and draining the gas out of any power equipment before putting them away for the winter. But there’s more to Winter Readiness. As a matter of fact, there always seems to be so much to do that it’s easy enough to overlook some tasks. This Winter Readiness Checklist was designed to overcome that by listing the things that need attention, preferably before snow and ice hamper our movements. Winter Readiness Checklist For In the Home: Stock Up: If you don’t have a garden then this is the time to stock up on fruits and vegetables at the very best prices. With a little bit of planning, freezing fruits and vegetables could supply healthy produce all winter long without having to pay inflated costs; Heating Check: Check the heating source, make sure the oil or propane tanks are filled and filters replaced. If wood is the heating source, get it now and store it inside if at all possible – have the chimney and stove-pipes cleaned. Make sure there is a safe place – like a metal barrel – to dump the  ashes. Never assume they’re all burned out because there are usually a few hot coals left. If there are supplementary heat sources – electric, propane, gas-fired heaters – check them over or have them checked to make sure they are in safe operating condition;  Keep the Heat in: Check for any drafts from windows or doors. Using an incense stick helps with this – if there is draft you’ll see the smoke moving. If there are drafts, now is the time to caulk or add/replace weather-stripping. Insulated drapes are an additional option; Humidifier Check: If you use a humidifier over winter, check the manual for the recommended annual inspection – replace worn parts to keep it operating the way it should; Home Safety Check: Check your Smoke and Carbon Dioxide Detectors. Are there enough of them to alert your family no matter where they are in the house? Do they need new batteries? Is the CO detector installed properly? I was surprised to discover ours had to be 20 feet away from a heat source. (Amazing what you learn when you read the instructions.)  Always keep an extra supply of batteries on hand. Do you have a Fire Extinguisher near the exits. There’s no sense having one if you can’t reach it when there is a fire. Do you have a Fire Escape Plan? Is there a way to escape from every room in the house?; Are there secure locks on all your doors and windows?  Winter Readiness Checklist for the Exterior of the Home: The Foundation: Take some time and carefully walk around the house checking for cracks in the foundation, gaps where...

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Everyday Herbs: Recipes and Remedies

Posted by on Aug 4, 2015 in Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living, Health, Herbs, Recipes | 49 comments

Everyday Herbs: Recipes and Remedies

This is the time of year when herbs really come into their own and I consider myself fortunate to be able to harvest them straight from my garden. But it’s not necessary to have a backyard garden to benefit from the bounty. Right now you’ll find a great selection of the freshest herbs at the best prices at Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands and even Supermarkets. Herbs are the most useful plants. For the longest time we thought using herbs was to add a basil leaf to tomato soup or to sprinkle chives on a baked potato. We have now become much more aware and accepting of herbs contribution to healthy living. Many of the herbs we use everyday have multiple uses – culinary, cosmetic, and medicinal. In this post I’m sharing just a few of the many ways to use Basil, Chives, Dill and Parsley. If you have no allergic reaction when using herbs in cooking or drinking, you should be fine using them for FIRST AID or cosmetic purposes. Unless you are trained to do so, NEVER use herbs to replace medical diagnosis or treatment. FOUR EVERYDAY HERBS. BASIL. This is one of the herbs that everyone knows and loves. It’s a pretty plant that grows equally well in the flower bed, the window box, the vegetable/herb garden or indoors during the winter. It’s also a must have plant for the pollinator garden. It is one of the most versatile plants with many uses – culinary, beverage, medicinal, cosmetic and even as insect repellant. Culinary Uses: Try basil with beans; pasta; chicken; fish; meatloaf; Italian cooking of all kinds; anything with tomato; and of course, to make pesto or boursin. More Uses: I wrote an earlier post about basil and rather than repeat the information, I’m simply adding the link: http://frugalforeveryone.ca/culinary-cosmetic-antiseptic-and-more-basil-does-it-all/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CHIVES. We grow garlic chives that have the pretty purple flower balls like little lollipops that the bees go crazy about. They are extremely easy to grow, indoors or out, and act as an aphid repellant (unfortunately not as eliminator) for our roses. Chives are used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Culinary Uses: Chives are great added to butters, cheese dishes, dips, eggs/omelets, potatoes, salads, sauces, seafood, soups and vegetables. We enjoy the mild taste so much that we have completely replaced green onions with chives. Medicinal Uses: Chives are loaded with vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, Vitamin A and C and a host of other nutrients. Because of the high Vitamin C content, chives give chicken soup an extra boost when dealing with a cold. Added to a broth, soup or stew they are used to ease digestive problems; treat anemia; and as food for sick or convalescing patients. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DILL:  There was a time when we made gallons of pickles and relishes and used lots of dill. We don’t bother with that anymore and also no longer bother growing dill. (The dill shown above is store bought.) But I still know enough about using it to share. Dill is used most often for culinary purposes but it has some excellent medicinal qualities. It contains many important nutrients, vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A and C plus iron and calcium. Culinary Uses: Eggs, poultry, salads, potato salad, and as a sauce (recipe below) for fish, especially salmon. Dill Sauce: 1 cup yogurt 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped 1 Tbsp. chives, chopped 1 Tbsp. lemon juice Dash of Worcestershire sauce Directions: Blend all the ingredients together. Serve with fish, delightful over salmon. Medicinal Uses: Dill is a centuries old herb...

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Enjoy a Powerhouse Smoothie

Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 in Frugal For Everyone, Health, Recipes | 34 comments

Enjoy a Powerhouse Smoothie

Enjoy a Powerhouse Smoothie was originally written by Erica Mesirov. As part of my 31 day #ProBlogger blogging challenge I needed to link to another blog post. For that I had the pleasure to choose one of Erica’s. The reason I chose this post is that it fit in well with my blog plus I found her directions for transforming a regular smoothie into a  powerhouse smoothie just too good not to share. Erica is a food and weight loss coach and she blogs about following a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle. I’ve been following her blog for quite a while now and enjoy her posts tremendously. They are always full of good, practical advice as this post will demonstrate. I’ll now let Erica’s post speak for itself. Amazing Add-Ins to Transform Your Smoothie Into a Nutrient Filled Powerhouse (By Erica Mesirov) We think of smoothies as a healthy breakfast or a protein rich snack. Yet your smoothie is only as healthy as what you put in it. Here are six things you need to be doing to assure that your smoothie is a lean, mean nutrient rich, nutrient filled powerhouse. Freshly grind your seeds – Throwing in flax seeds, chia seeds or pumpkins seeds can be a good way to supply your body with additional omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. It is popular to purchase packaged ground seeds for use in such things as smoothies. The problem is that once seeds are ground, the oils are easily oxidized which diminishes their nutrient value. Freshly grinding seeds keeps the oils fresh. You can grind them in a small coffee grinder or in a power blender. Just make sure the seeds are fully ground into a powder or you won’t be able to absorb their nutrients. Avoid Using Fruit Juice – Fruit juice seems like it should be a source of vitamins and minerals for your smoothie. In reality, fruit juice is made by isolating the sugar from the fruit while leaving out any of the fiber and vitamins that make fruit nutritious. The sweetness from fruit juice is enough to upset your blood sugar balance and lead to sugar cravings later in the day. Stick to some form of milk as your base and leave the sweetness to your fresh fruit. Check for hidden sugars – While we are talking about the sweet stuff, many smoothie ingredients are full of added sugars. This might be in your non-dairy milk, your protein powder or any add-ins like peanut butter. Read all ingredients carefully before using. Nothing detracts from a smoothie’s health potential than lots of sugar. There are plenty of unsweetened or naturally sweet options, so pick those instead. Add Greens – Hate kale? Cool, throw it in anyway. If you do a smoothie right, you will have such a mix of flavors that you won’t even taste the veggies. This is perfect for a little kid (or big adult) who won’t eat their vegetables. One handful of greens is usually just perfect. Choose Antioxidants – Think beyond just the banana when choosing fruit for your smoothie. Berries like blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are not only really satisfying in smoothies; they are a great source of antioxidants. Some of the many benefits of antioxidants are better skin, improved immunity and increased overall health. Go ahead and use frozen. Once they are blended your smoothie will by cold and refreshing. Support Healthy Gut Bacteria – So many people have taken multiple courses of antibiotics or years of birth control pills (which both help destroy the much needed healthy bacteria in the gut.) For that...

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Blogging – Relationships Matter

Posted by on Jul 5, 2015 in Frugal For Everyone, Health and Safety | 39 comments

Blogging – Relationships Matter

Taking a break from blogging for the month gave me the opportunity to look at my blogging progress and also see how much I’ve learned. Before the social media days I was just blogging away but not really going anywhere. That has been changing even though there is still a long, long way to go. More readers are coming on board every week and that`s exciting. This post is to share what I’ve learned – where to find free or low-cost  training/tutorials; learning new ways to communicate online (and some cautions); showing how strong relationships can lead to better blogging; and how fascinating and fun it all can be. Possibly it may even interest you enough to start your own blog. A bit of trivia. No post was published at all during June yet there were an average of 30-40 visitors to my site every day. Know which post drew them there? The Avon Bubble Bath one. (If you google ‘Use for Avon Bubble Bath` you’ll find me right at the top – pretty neat huh?) Forming strong relationships has been a big part of why my blog has started moving in the right direction. I discovered a while ago that you can’t blog alone. To have a chance of becoming a successful blogger you need to build solid relationships, not only with readers but also with other bloggers. You need to join blogging groups and actively participate. You must read other blogger’s posts, leave comments and share the good stuff on social media. You can also not forget your readers but communicate with them by appreciating and responding to their comments. Blogging – How Relationships Matter: When it comes to blogging, one of the smartest things I did was to join the LinkedIn Group Bloggers Helping Bloggers. This very supportive group has kept me on track and helped me avoid many social media no-no’s. BHB is a small, sociable group and, while I may never meet them in person, quite a few of the members have become genuine friends. The biggest unexpected benefit from building relationships is the willingness of other bloggers to reach out to help and support you. You may remember my recent guest posts on Susan Cooper’s Blog, one of the BHB managers. While being accepted to guest post may not seem like a big deal to the non-blogger, to me it was huge. It felt like getting the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, validating my blogging efforts. Susan also taught me about Google Hangouts so she could show me how to improve my images. That was a terrific way of learning as Susan and I were talking face to face and I could ask questions throughout the sessions. Loved that. Thank you Susan. BTW, many comments about the improved images have been received. Caution: Shortly after my first session with Susan, I received a request from a total stranger to hangout. Make sure you know how to set your privacy settings before signing on. Patricia Weber, another manager from my LinkedIn Blogging Group, recently wrote a post about MyBlogU. I checked the site out and decided it wasn’t for me. WRONG. Patricia would not accept that and, to prove her point, offered to give me a run-through via Skype. Of course that meant I first had to learn how to use Skype. For that training I found GCF Learn Free, a site that offers easy to follow instructions about quite a few basic Computer/Internet subjects. It had a simple Skype tutorial to follow, including how to screenshare. That’s a great feature because it allowed Patricia to...

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