Saturday, July 6, 2013

Natural Body Care

     In between power-cooking and catching up on game requests on Facebook today, I have been going through old magazines trying to de-clutter. My magazines are organized neatly, but seriously, how many different magazine issues do I REALLY need?
     I have numerous years of Oprah's magazines starting from the very first issue. Hmmm. Should I hang on to those? Will they be collectible one day? A quick eBay search resulted in a few of the premiere issues available. Starting bids range from $5 to $19.99. Well, I won't get rich at those prices, but having that first issue makes me feel like I was part of the beginning ... like being on the ground floor of a new investment. Silly? Perhaps. But ... that's how I feel.
      I also have many issues of the "Food Network"and "Every Day with Rachael Ray" magazines. My reasoning for hanging on to them is I can use them for research for  my newspaper food column.
     There are a multitude of issues of Cook's Illustrated," "Eating Well," "Vegetarian Times," "Cooking Light," "Taste of Home," "Cuisine." The list goes on. Oh, my!
     There are many issues of "The Herb Quarterly," dating back to 1987 when I first discovered that wonderful magazine. I have been a subscriber off and on since then. Ditto "The Herb Companion." And, of course, I must keep the issues we have of "Smithsonian." And don't forget those "National Geographic" magazines dating back to the 1960s.
     My husband and I sold bundles of magazines at garage sales - "Cooking Light," "Better Homes and Gardens," "Sunset," "Woman's Day," "Good Housekeeping," "Family Circle" "JP," "Popular Science," "Popular Mechanics," "Road and Track," "Car and Driver" and more. We have donated magazines to the Longview Public Library for its magazine exchange program. 
     Yet we continue to be overwhelmed with magazines - and newsletters. When I first started writing my food column, I subscribed to numerous newsletters - "Cinnamon Hearts," "Food History,"  "The Culinary Sleuth," "The Art of Food," "Home Food Preservers," "The Recipe Detective: Gloria Spitzer's Secret Recipes," "Cook Speak" and more. I admit I am not ready to give them up.
     But ... I have been poring over magazines. I told myself I wasn't going to rip out pages of recipes and info, but that didn't work out. Instead, I am making a "mess," so to speak, by placing the torn out pages in boxes. I will go through them one day and organize them. I will. I know I will.
    In the meantime, I am enjoying looking through the old issues.
    I came across an article in the May 2007 issue of "The Herb Companion" by Janice Cox who happened to write the 2002 book "Natural Beauty at Home," which I have a copy of - somewhere among the stacks and stacks of books we own.
   The article is titled "Baby Yourself with Natural Body Care" and was written for new and/or expectant parents with recipes for Cocoa Butter Cream, Buttermilk Baby Bath, Lavender Scented Dusting Powder and more. 
     You don't have to be an expectant parent to pamper yourself with these little gems.
     Enjoy. Oh ... and please note, none of these images are mine. I found them online.

Cocoa Butter Cream
     1/4 cup grated cocoa butter
     1 teaspoon almond oil
     1 teaspoon light sesame oil
     1 teaspoon vitamin E oil

     Place all ingredients in a glass container and slowly heat in the microwave or in a water bath until the cocoa butter is melted and the oils are well-mixed.
     Pour into a clean container and allow the cream to completely cool.
     To use, massage a small amount into your skin as needed to soothe and soften.
     Yield: 2 ounces

Buttermilk Baby Bath
     1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
     1/4 cup whole dry buttermilk
     1 tablespoon cornstarch (I prefer arrowroot powder)
     2 to 3 drops sweet orange essential oil or favorite essential oil, optional (I like jasmine, gardenia and peppermint)

     Mix together all ingredients and pour into a clean, dry container. 
     To use, for adults, pour 1/4 cup of the bath powder into a full bath of warm water. For infants, pour 1 tablespoon into a small baby bathtub.
     Yield: 4 ounces

Lavender Scented Dusting Powder
     1 cup cornstarch (I prefer arrowroot powder)
     1/2 teaspoon light oil, such as almond, sesame or sunflower
     2 to 3 drops lavender essential oil

     Mix all ingredients in a resealable plastic bag. Seal bag and massage the powder until all of the oil is evenly distributed. 
     Store in a clean, dry container.
     Yield: 8 ounces

Honey Facial Mask
     1 egg yolk
     1 teaspoon honey
     1 teaspoon almond oil
     1 teaspoon vitamin E oil

     Place all ingredients in bowl and stir until smooth.
     To use, massage onto face and neck. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse off with warm water and pat dry.
     Yield: 2 ounces

Peppermint Leg Gel

     1/2 cup aloe vera gel
     1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch (again, I prefer arrowroot powder)
     1 tablespoon witch hazel
     3 to 4 drops peppermint essential oil 

     Combine the aloe vera, cornstarch and witch hazel in a glass container. Warm the mixture in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds or in a double boiler until it is the consistency of honey.
    Let mixture cool, then add peppermint oil and stir well. Pour into a clean container.
    For instant rejuvenation, massage onto legs and feet.
    Yield: 4 ounces

Cinnamon Massage Oil
     1/2 cup light oil (canola, almond or sesame)
     1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
     1/2  teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

     Mix together all ingredients and pour into a clean container. You may need to shake the oil gently to blend before using.
     To use, massage a small amount into skin. This oil also makes a nice bath or after-bath moisturizer.
     Yield: 4 ounces


Monday, July 1, 2013

10 healthy home remedies via Woman's Day magazine / July 2013

     I can't believe it's been nearly a year since I've written anything here. The saying, "How time flies" certainly is true.
     And, I must say ... I greatly admire the people who devote time each day to their blogs. It takes self-discipline to write every day, log recipes and photos and offer helpful hints and tidbits.
     Which brings me to this post. I need someplace to "store" the mounds of information I glean from magazines and books. I have torn pages from magazines and placed them in boxes. Some are in three-ring binders, but most are piled in boxes stacked in our home office. Not a tremendous amount of boxes, mind you ... only three or four - and believe me, that is enough paperwork to intimidate me. One day, it all will be organized, but for now, oye vay.
   Even this past weekend while reading magazines, I found myself ripping out the pages. It's like an obsession. I .... must .... do .... it. For this moment, however, I am going to document the next tidbits of info I want to save right here. Yep, that's right. I know it isn't truly going to be better organized, but at least I know where to look. And, at some point, I will learn how to add pages to my blog and categorize all this wonderful information.

     Today's "10 healthy home remedies" comes directly from the July 2013 issue of "Woman's Day" magazine.

     1.) Soothe a sunburn with plain white vinegar. The clear liquid eases the pain and itch of a sunburn and could possibly prevent blisters from forming. The magazine notes if the burn is on your face, soak a cotton ball with the vinegar and dab it onto your face. If the burn covers more of your body, use a wash cloth or paper towel and cover the skin for 15 minutes.

           When I was growing up, my dad had me put vinegar in mineral oil and that's what I used for a tanning lotion as opposed to Coppertone or any of the other over-the-counter lotions. Obviously, I smelled like vinegar until I showered, but, in the privacy of my parents' back yard, I didn't care. And ... whenever I used it, I did not burn. I believe the oil encouraged tanning, while the vinegar deterred me from burning. Back in those days, I used to take a nap in the sun. What was I thinking. Nowadays, I limit my sun exposure to about 10 or 15 minutes at a time - unless my husband and I are working in the yard. Then, we take a break every 30 to 45 minutes for 15 to 30 minutes, making sure to keep hydrated. It takes us a long time to get the chores done, but that's just fine with us.

 2.) Fade sun or age spots with lemon juice. The citric acid in lemons apparently helps dissolve dead skin cells, which in turn, exposes fresh skin. Lemons also contain the antioxidant vitamin C to protect the skin from future damage. 

"Woman's Day" suggests cutting a lemon in half and squeezing the juice into a container. Dab the juice on the spots with a cotton swab and leave on the skin for 1 to 2 minutes before rinsing it off. This should be done before bed, not in the morning because the fruit contains a compound that may cause your skin to darken when it is exposed to sunlight.

   3.) Relieve an itchy bug bite with a banana peel. Peel a banana and eat it. :-)  Apply the inside of the peel directly on the bite and leave it there for 2 to 3 minutes.

    4.) Reduce swollen skin with green tea bags. According to article author Betsy Stephens, the tannins and caffeine in tea helps reduce swelling and green tea works best because it also contains the anti-inflammatory compound EGCG. For swelling, put your used tea bags in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then put the bags on the swollen skin. 
     A bonus benefit is the tannins in the tea also help clot blood. So ... if you have a paper cut or scrape, clean the area well, then place the tea bag directly on the cut and press gently for 5 minutes.

          I've also used sliced cucumbers for swelling, especially after crying. :-) I put them on my eyelids, lay back and relax for 10 to 15 minutes.

     5.) Use rubbing alcohol to prevent a poison ivy rash. Put two parts water and one part 70 percent rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Shake well. Spritz the liquid as soon as possible after exposure onto the skin that may have been exposed. Let the liquid air dry.

     6.)  Use duct tape to get rid of warts. Seriously? Hmmm. Apparently the glue in the duct tape softens the wart so the wart can be removed easier. Oh, my! The article in the magazine says to cover the wart with duct tape for six days. Remove the tape - can you say yeowww! Soak the wart in warm water for about 15 minutes. Rub it with an emery board or a pumice stone. Leave the wart uncovered overnight. Repeat until the wart comes off.
     Just think, with all the colors of duct tape these days, you can color-coordinate to your outfit. Well, if you wear the same color family for six days, that is. :-)

     7.) Smooth cracked heels with papaya. The enzymes in the fruit help smooth rough skin. Mash chunks of the fruit in a large bowl or bucket. I think I'd use a dish pan. We have two - one for me and my feet and one for Steve and his. Many times on beautiful sunny days, we'll soak our feet on the patio while reading magazines. We get to enjoy our back yard, the trees, the birds and the sun all while making our feet "pretty." :-) 
     Oops ... getting carried away. Back to the mooshed papaya. Rest your feet in it for 30 minutes, rinse them and then apply a moisturizing lotion. I prefer a lotion with green tea extract in it because it smells so wonderful.

     8.) Heal dry or chapped lips with olive oil. Because the oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, it is a good source of moisture. Cells can easily absorb the fatty acids. A little dab will do ya - just like Brylcreem. Oh, my ... that certainly ages me. LOL Anyway, dab a little on your lips every few hours until they feel soft and smooth.

     9.) Whiten yellow nails with hydrogen peroxide. Mix a tablespoon of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution with 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and apply it to the nails. Repeat daily until the yellow color fades away - a week, maybe even longer.

 10.) Repair damaged hair with an avocado. Hair that breaks from sun or chlorine damage can be strengthened and nourished from this buttery colored fruit. Mash a ripe avocado. Apply it to your hair and leave it in for a half hour. After the half-hour, rinse it out and shampoo.

Note: Credit for these ideas goes to the July 2013 issue of "Woman's Day" magazine.