DIY Garden Spray

As a city dweller, I take pride in my urban garden. Between veggies, herbs, and flowers, I’ve got containers upon containers of homegrown goodies come summertime. While most gardeners in the ‘burbs and countryside have to worry about a whole slew of insects, rodents, and even large animals such as deer, the most common pest that I’ve come across in the city is squirrels. Ugh!

I love animals of all kinds. I also love using all-natural products whenever possible. As such, store-bought and toxin-filled products just weren’t cutting it for me. I’m not in the business of hurting harmless critters or myself; I simply want them to stay away from my labors of love. After a bit of research, I’ve come up with a recipe to keep the squirrels away without harming them or poisoning my food. 

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 cup red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. unscented Castile soap
  • 25 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 16 oz. glass spray bottle

What you’ll do:

  • Add the filtered water and red pepper flakes to a small pot; bring to a rapid boil for approximately 5 minutes; allow to cool to room temperature
  • Pour the mixture over a fine mesh strainer; add the liquid to the spray bottle; discard the red pepper flakes
  • Add the unscented Castile soap and peppermint essential oil to the spray bottle; top with filtered water until the bottle is full; apply the lid and give it a good shake
  • Give your plants and the soil below them a good spritz every several days, especially after rainfall

Sesame Salmon Noodle Bowls

Recently, I hit up the local Asian market with my friend, Rachel. While many items caught my eye, sweet potato vermicelli and exotic mushrooms inspired this dish, fo sho. I can’t wait to scope out some Asian-inspired recipes and head back with some more purposeful shopping in mind. 

Let’s talk sweet potato vermicelli, also known as “glass noodles.” Made entirely from sweet potato starch, they are gluten-free and therefore lower in calories than many varieties of noodles. When food is healthy, filling, and delicious, you know you’ve got a winner. 

PART 1: THE NOODLES

What you’ll need: 

  • 1 tsp. Himalayan salt
  • 2 bunches sweet potato vermicelli 
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • The juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 cup mushrooms (I used a mixture of maitake and beech)
  • 3/4 cup carrots, shredded
  • 3/4 cup red cabbage, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cilantro, chopped

What you’ll do:

  • Add the Himalayan salt to a pot of water and bring to a boil; once boiling; add the sweet potato vermicelli and cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; strain and rinse with cold water; add to a medium mixing bowl and chill in the fridge
  • Add honey, soy sauce, avocado oil, toasted sesame, and lime juice to a food processor; blend until smooth; set aside
  • Over medium heat, melt the ghee in a medium-sized pan; once melted, add the mushrooms and sauté until soft, approximately 5 minutes
  • Add prepped mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, and cilantro to a large mixing bowl; set aside

PART 2: THE SALMON

What you’ll need:

  • 2 salmon fillets 
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • The juice of two lines
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp. black sesame seeds

What you’ll do:

  • Preheat your oven to broil and add the salmon fillets to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil
  • Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, combine the honey, lime juice, pepper, and salt; brush both sides of the salmon fillets with the mixture
  • Add the white and black sesame seeds to a small mixing bowl and stir until combined; sprinkle onto the top of each salmon fillet; broil for 8 minutes

PART 3: ASSEMBLY

What you’ll need:

  • Prepped sweet potato vermicelli (above)
  • Prepped dressing (above)
  • Prepped veggies (above)
  • Prepped salmon (above)
  • 2 tbsp. green onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro

What you’ll do:

  • Add the sweet potato vermicelli and dressing to the veggie mixture; stir until just combined; divide between two bowls
  • Place the prepped salmon atop the noodles; garnish with the green onion and cilantro 

Mini S’mores Skillets

I have no business calling this a recipe because it’s that easy to throw together. However, I was so excited when I conjured up this idea that I’m sharing it as one anyway. I love love love s’mores, but ain’t nobody got time to build backyard campfires on the reg. That’s where these mini (and adorable) cast iron skillets come into play. I purchased them as a set of four on Amazon.

Just a quick sprinkle of ingredients and a few minutes in the toaster oven results in some of the best s’mores that you’ll ever have – melty chocolate, gooey and perfectly toasted mallows, and graham crackers for dipping…YUM! To make my myself feel a little bit better about the indulgence, I used vegan mallows and gluten-free graham crackers, but this is totally optional!

Over time, I’ve used these mini skillets to make desserts that look and taste much more impressive than the time that went into them. This makes them ideal for dinner parties. Blueberry or apple crisp a la mode, anyone?! Yes, please! Individually portioned, they’re also great for when you want a sweet treat, but don’t want to overdo it.

What you’ll need (per skillet):

  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • ~20 mini marshmallows
  • 1 graham cracker

What you’ll do:

  • Preheat your toaster oven to 350°F
  • Add the chocolate chips to the bottom of a mini cast iron skillet; layer with the marshmallows
  • Bake in the toaster oven for approximately 3 minutes, or until the chocolate is melted and the marshmallows are golden brown
  • Serve with a broken-up graham cracker for dipping and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Chili

I know this chili isn’t much to look at, but it is so. damn. good. I’m in the midst of a 30-day cleanse that allows me to eat one healthy meal per day. Yes, one meal per day, people! Otherwise, we’re talking shakes, celery, and cucumbers. Knowing the extent to which I love food, I’m sure you can imagine how much I look forward to my one and only meal. That’s why I had to make it extra special. 

What I love about this chili is that, despite being hearty and filling, it’s chock full of healthy ingredients. I decided to add sweet potato for some extra nutrients, and I am so happy that I did. Also, this chili is a meal prepper’s dream, as one batch yields five servings and takes only an hour to make. I think it goes without saying that this is 100%, without a doubt my new go-to chili recipe.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp. avocado oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 a medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground bison
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained
  • 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. dried cilantro
  • 1/2 tbsp. chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Himalayan salt
  • Garnish: lime wedges, non-fat Greek yogurt, and corn chips

What you’ll do:

  • First, add the avocado oil, garlic, and onion to a large pot; sautée over medium heat until soft, approximately 3 minutes
  • Then, add the ground bison and, using a flipper, break into smaller pieces; flip every so often until browned through, approximately 5 minutes
  • Next, add the crushed tomatoes, beans, sweet potatoes, broth, and spices; stir until all ingredients are combined
  • Turn the heat to its lowest setting and allow to simmer for approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Serve in individual crocks and garnish each with a lime wedge, a generous dallop of Greek yogurt, and several corn chips

DIY Dry Shampoo

Hellooooo, ladies! If you are an avid dry shampoo user such as myself, you will love this post! I am a dry shampoo junkie. I go through cans and cans and cans. Between work, school, maintaining a social life, enjoying hobbies, and working out, whose got time for daily hair washing and styling?! Quite honestly, I should have invested stock in Batiste a looooong time ago. However, as I’m on a mission to rid my apartment of all things toxic now more than ever, I almost fainted when I realized what goes into that aerosol can.

Upon researching how to make some dry shampoo of my own, I was blown away by how simple (and cheap!) it is to make. As an added bonus, I made mine with peppermint and lavender essential oils. They not only make the final product smell wonderful, but have functional benefits as well. The tingling sensation of peppermint on my scalp is also amaaaaazing! It’s truly incredible how much more I have incorporated essential oils into my life since joining the Young Living community. I have learned so much in such a short amount of time and know that I have only hit the tip of the iceberg in terms of what there is to learn.

Ingredients:

  • Corn starch: adds volume
  • Baking soda: cleanses
  • Peppermint essential oil: anti-itch
  • Lavender essential oil: anti-dandruff, strengthens hair, stimulates hair growth

What you’ll need:

  • A 4 oz. powder shaker with lid (I purchased this one from Amazon and it is perfect for this project!)
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 6 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 6 drops lavender essential oil
  • Optional for brunettes: 1 tbsp. cocoa powder

What you’ll do:

  • Add all ingredients to the shaker, apply the lid, and shake well
  • Shake the dry shampoo onto the roots of your hair and use your fingers to work it into your scalp; allow to sit for roughly 5 minutes
  • Once 5 minutes has elapsed, brush the remaining dry shampoo through your hair and style as usual