Saying goodbye to suds

20140429-125452.jpg

As I’ve been sorting through some of my recipes, I’ve been compelled to write about one characteristic that is missing from some of them, compared to their store-bought counterparts: SUDS! Bubbles, lather, foaming action, whatever you want to call it, some of my recipes do lack this frothy bubbly stuff that many of us attribute to the effectiveness of a product.

Don’t get me wrong, I still use traditional soap in some recipes, which can produce a fair amount of bubbles and lather. It is this lathering action that can be really helpful for physically getting dirt and grime off your hands and other surfaces. But in some cases, the excessive amount of suds that you get with commercial products are just simply not necessary. And if you are looking for truly natural, non-toxic solutions, I hate to be the bearer of difficult news, but you may have to let go of the suds a bit.

The reason behind this is because chemical surfactants (the things that give your products their sudsy action, above and beyond what a typical soap might do) are one of the most toxic ingredients in many cleaning and bath products. And to my knowledge, other than mixing egg whites in with a recipe (ummm, which would not be advisable if you are looking to disinfect), I have not found any super bubbly non toxic alternatives that I am comfortable with.

(See this article for more information on toxic surfactants and other chemicals in your home.)

One of the products I’ve had to give up on the suds with is my dish soap. My dish soap recipe became a solid if I wanted it to have more suds, and then eventually would lose its sudsiness fairly quickly. I was not into using the solid version (too difficult to mix in with the water), so I liquified the recipe and there is not much suds at all now. It still has soap in it, but it doesn’t lather much when diluting it with the sink water. And you know what? It still cleans my dishes really, really well. And in conjunction with the vinegar rinse, actually probably sanitizes them superiorly to regular dish soap. And it doubles as a kitchen de-greasing spray.

I also gave up suds on my hair. I could not find a shampoo alternative that would not be drying, that involved natural suds (ie. soap). It took a bit of getting used to, but I am now completely comfortable with my “no poo.” The only time I find I need suds in my hair is after a haircut – and then I just use my body wash (which is essentially castille soap, glycerin and water).

You know what else I gave up? Bubble baths for my kid. There was nothing available that was satisfyingly benign to me (short of adding egg whites to my recipe, again, which I am not comfortable with and doesn’t seem very practical to me) and I figured, why the heck does he need bubble baths anyway? He has tons of fun just splashing in the water with his bath toys. So we don’t do bubble baths anymore.

And you know what? We are all clean and happy. It took a bit of adjusting for my hubs with the dish soap and no-poo thing, but now he is completely content with them. Especially because it is so much cheaper ;). The sans bubble bath is probably more an adjustment for the grandparents, really, am I right?

You really don’t always need suds to get clean, and when they so often come with a toxic load, I am very happy to say ‘goodbye to suds’ in certain arenas. Do we still wash our bodies with soap? Yuuuppp. I am a firm believer in plain, vegetable oil based soap. Dr. Bronner’s is amazing stuff. But you don’t need bubbles for everything! I say it’s time to let go of the need for so much lather. What about you?

PS: Stay tuned for “sanitizing your home without bleach or alcohol.”.

Also, check out THIS great read by Crunchy Betty on ditching bubble bath.

Immune boosting, energy rich smoothie!

20140424-142949.jpg

I bought a hand blender a little while ago and have been making a LOT of smoothies with it. This is my favourite personal recipe so far, and my two year old loves it too. All of the ingredients are in the graphic – just blend! But don’t forget to let your chia seeds soak in the water / juice for about 5 minutes prior to heighten their bioavailability and make them more palatable.

I find this smoothie gives me more energy than a cup of coffee, and without the crash afterwards! Not to mention it helping your body immensely when you are sick – especially due to the turmeric, ginger, honey & lemon – don’t leave any of these ingredients out. Feel free to omit the yogurt and just add a bit more liquid (fresh orange juice would be my recommendation) if you are going dairy free. Hope you enjoy!

I bought my domain – Let’s have another giveaway!

20140422-141819.jpg

So I finally bought my domain. Wahoo! Big step. But now I really need to make some income so my hubby feels like it’s money well spent. Can you help me spread the word about my blog & business? If you can get my facebook page to 200 likes, I will give away a summer skincare set of some chocolate peppermint body butter, a bug repellent SPF 25 sunscreen, and a lavender face & body scrub.

I will run this giveaway through Rafflecopter as well, through the link below (if it’s not up yet, come back in a few minutes)! You will earn 1 entry for liking DIY Jayne on Facebook, 1 for tweeting about it, and another for following my Twitter account. PLEASE enter through the Rafflecopter link, as I use this tool to randomly and fairly choose a winner. If you don’t use the rafflecopter link and follow the instructions there, you won’t be entered.

Share with your friends to spread the word, and keep on DIY-ing! The winner will be announced when we hit 200 likes on Facebook πŸ™‚

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY ON RAFFLECOPTER!

Dish soap / De-greasing spray cleaner NEW RECIPE

20140422-195832.jpg

So I’ve been fiddling around with things again, and had used my de-greasing spray cleaner as a dish soap from time to time. Then I got to thinking….uhhh…why am I making two different recipes for dish soap and spray cleaner, when they have very similar ingredients and seem to work just a well? Also, I would like to have a liquid dish soap. It’s just a tad easier. So I had kind of of a “duh” moment. Let’s just use one recipe for both!

So here we go. In case you missed the previous recipes, let me get you hyped up for this one. For messes my vinegar spray cleaner can’t handle, I started using this recipe to handle greasy kitchen messes (being pH alkaline, these ingredients handle fats and oils better than vinegar, which is an acid). And I then chase it with the vinegar cleaner to remove any residue. It works BRILLIANTLY. Ditch those toxic spray cleaners for this one, you will be glad you did. And it is cheap to make, too.

Using this as a dish soap, you will notice it doesn’t suds much. That’s because it doesn’t include any surfactants, which are mostly carcinogenic materials that give your cleaners their bubbles. But you know what? You don’t need much sudsing action to clean. This dish soap cleans marvelously without it, and if you rinse your dishes in water that has a bit of vinegar added (ie. fill up your second sink if you have one), they will come out absolutely squeaky clean with no residue.

That being said, do not combine vinegar with this recipe until you want it stripped off. If you end up mixing it in accidentally (or on purpose) while you are still trying to clean with it, you will instead neutralize the recipe and get some pretty lame results. Just FYI!

Ready for the recipe? In a metal / pyrex / glass bowl:

Mix together until dissolved:
1 part (1 tbsp) washing soda
20 parts (or 1 & 1/4 cups) boiling water

Add:
4 parts (1/4 cup) liquid castille soap
16 parts (or 1 cup) boiling water

Mix it all together, and allow to cool enough so that it will not melt any container you are putting it in. Then pour some in a spray bottle for kitchen cleaning, and some in a squirt bottle for dish soap. And use your vinegar cleaner to strip it off for a squeaky clean finish! And there you have it! How easy was that, right? I am putting myself out of a job, here! Seriously πŸ˜‰

NOTE: If you find your mixture congeals at all (not all washing sodas and castille soaps are created equal) simply pour back into your bowl, and add a tiny bit more boiling water, re-mix and add back to your container. Note this in your recipe for the next time!

Cloud Dough (and Playdough)

20140417-135630.jpg

So have you all seen this “cloud dough” circulating on Pinterest? I tried it with my son today, and it was so much fun! It is basically flour with oil that creates a wonderfjl fluffy textured dough that you can mould to a degree. A great sensory play activity, and when combined with essential oils can be used therapeutically as well!

Here’s the recipe:

8 parts all purpose flour
1 part liquid vegetable oil
OPTIONAL:
8 drops essential oil of choice per cup or so of flour (we chose lavender for it’s calming qualities)
1-2 parts powdered tempera paint for added colour

In a very large bowl or the container you are planning to store it in, measure out your flour. Next, drop the essential oil (if using) into the unit you are using to measure your liquid oil. Add the oil, and then pour that mixture into the flour. Mix it in with a spoon, and then your hands until the oil is evenly distributed. It will always be chunky / crumbly in nature, but there shouldn’t be any ‘wet’ chunks that are mostly oil.

And go to town! While your kiddo has fun shaping and feeling the dough, they will also enjoy the aromatherapy benefits of the oil that you choose. Take a look at AromaWeb for some info on the qualities of different oils.

Oh. And you may have a mess afterwards. In case that wasn’t obvious ;). Put down a towel!

Looking for a traditional playdough recipe? Well I’ve got the one we’ve been using for you here as well. It is a fantastic recipe that turns out great every time (sorry this one does NOT work great in ‘parts’ – feel free to double it, it works fine!):

20140512-164525.jpg

When I say stir constantly, I mean constantly. If you stop stirring, your dough will get hard, crunchy spots. Stir until it gets to the (even) consistency you would expect from playdough. It will get pretty sticky and intense to stir, get ready for a forearm workout ;).

This stuff keeps for ages because of the salt and tea tree oil. Ours had been going for three months before I made a fresh batch. That being said though, to be safe, toss it if anyone really really sick has been playing with it! But it shouldn’t really go “bad” very fast, it’s likely to be left out and accidentally hardened first ;).

That also being said, you can always knead in a bit more water and oil to an older batch to liven it up a bit!

Hope you enjoy your sensory play with the kiddos!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chickpea Cookies (Gluten Free)

20140416-194025.jpg

So I’ve adapted this wicked recipe for these amazing gluten free cookies that will blow your mind. They are soooo tasty, moist, and best of all, they are actually kind of good for you! (We reeeaaaallly need to tell ourselves this right?) These bad boys are loaded with yummy protein in the form of chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, if you will) and peanut butter. And there is no sugar added (other than in the chocolate chips – which can be subbed out for dried fruit like raisins), just honey for sweetening!

Now, these are going to pack a lot of calories, but they are decent calories in the form of healthy fats and proteins. Betcha can’t eat just….two πŸ˜‰

You will need:

One standard ~400 ml can of chickpeas / garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed.
1/2 cup salted natural peanut butter (please don’t use Skippy or anything like that, it won’t turn out – too many additives)
1/4 cup raw honey
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips (Oops – I somehow forgot this on the first go!)

I highly recommend you use a hand blender like THIS ONE, and not a stand blender or food processor. I have nearly killed these with this recipe, no joke – I almost burnt out the motor – the batter gets so thick and sticky it is ridiculous.

In a large bowl, add your chickpeas, vanilla, and honey. Using your hand blender, purΓ©e these ingredients until they are relatively smooth with no lumps. You may need to scoop out and pulse your hand blender outside of the mixture a few times to avoid jamming it.

Now is a good time to turn on and preheat your oven to 350 F.

Next, add the peanut butter and sprinkle in the baking powder. I do not recommend using your hand blender for this next step. Once the peanut butter is in there, the mixture gets so thick that it almost immediately jams up the blender. You will need to hand stir the batter for a little while, making sure the baking powder and peanut butter are as evenly distributed as possible.

Finally, add in your chocolate chips. Mix well. And that’s your batter! Grease a baking sheet, and scoop on cookies to your desired size. One of those cookie ballers would be perfect for this recipe! Don’t make them too thick, as the batter will remain relatively soft. These cookies won’t expand or rise much on the pan, so make the cookies just slightly smaller than you would like them – I recommend 1.5 inch flattened balls.

Bake for about 10 minutes (at 350 F), until you see some browning around the bottom edges and on the batter peaks. They won’t set quite like normal cookies.

I dare you to keep these in a container in the fridge for a maximum of 5 days. They only last 2 days in our house πŸ˜‰

Adapted from:
http://www.texanerin.com/2012/04/grain-free-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-bites.html

DIY your own Natural Sunscreen EASILY and CHEAPLY!

20140407-150843.jpg

UPDATE: (July 21, 2014) I have now posted a preferred sunscreen recipe for you HERE. I have found that the recipe below, although providing adequate sun protection, does not reliably emulsify every time, and sometimes develops a grittiness or chunky quality over time. Apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

So it’s that time of year again where we may think about starting to reach for the sunscreen when spending long periods of time outside. As many of us have now realized, most traditional sunscreen is quite toxic, and (ironically) contains many carcinogens. And if you know this, you know that the natural alternatives are NOT cheap. You are looking at twenty to thirty bucks a bottle for some of the store-bought alternatives.

Now, this wasn’t acceptable to me, so I thought, hey, why don’t I try making my own? Understandably, it is one of those ‘riskier’ DIY exploits to jump on. I felt like, man, if I screw this up, I might end up with a wicked sunburn. Yikes! And myself and my immediate family members (including my two year old), are pasty white.

BUT, after some substantial research, I decided it was worth a shot. So, last year, I whipped up a batch and tried it out. And it worked AMAZING. I was overjoyed to find that neither myself, my husband, or my son burned while wearing it. That being said, we weren’t spending all day on the beach in Florida. We are looking at a couple hours at a water park with moderate amounts of clothing on. I am one for everything in moderation, and I include my sun exposure in that category – I am just not one for baking in the sun all day.

BUT, I do know of some Moms who use very similar recipes and find it is also pretty good for heavier sun exposure. That also being said, just know that I am not PERSONALLY attesting to this.

My recipe relies on two active ingredients that are said to provide a physical barrier to harmful UV exposure. These ingredients are zinc oxide and extra virgin coconut oil. Some folks use just the coconut oil with decent success, but since my pasty skin is so vulnerable, I really felt I needed to add in the zinc oxide as well.

You do need to source the zinc oxide in an unusual location, as it is not something that is widely available in most stores. You can buy zinc oxide online HERE at New Directions Aromatics, or locally at The Soap Dispensary or another similar soap making shop. Please make sure that the zinc oxide you use is non-nano, which basically means it is not readily absorbing through your skin into your bloodstream. While it is a less toxic alternative, it is not completely benign, and should not be used internally or inhaled.

Alternatively if you just cannot source the zinc oxide powder, I have a suggestion (not as toxin free, mind you, as it includes petroleum products) using diaper cream below – wait for it :). Not my first choice, but an option!

Anyways, after that lengthy introduction, here is my recipe for sunscreen that supposedly results in around 20-25 SPF:

1 part non-nano zinc oxide powder
1 part food grade aloe vera gel
4 parts extra virgin coconut oil
OPTIONAL: Add 10 drops per half cup of sunscreen citronella essential oil to make your sunscreen double as a mosquito repellent.

IMPORTANT: Mix in a well ventilated area, with a mask on. Once mixed, the zinc oxide is fine, but it is NOT to be inhaled as it can accumulate in your lungs. Not to scare you, but just wear a mask like this one and you will not only look wicked awesome, but you will be perfectly fine πŸ™‚

20140407-151024.jpg

PROCESS UPDATED ON MARCH 4, 2014:

Start by melting your coconut oil in a double boiler (see my FAQ for an explanation). Add your zinc oxide, and mix well until there is not much left stuck on the bottom of your bowl. Next, transfer this mixture to a food processor (the sunscreen is REALLY hard to clean out of the processor afterwards, so if your budget allows it, I would have a separate food processor for your body products), and blend for at least five minutes.

Add your aloe vera gel (I personally like Lily of the Desert’s products) and citronella. Blend for another five minutes. The aloe vera is in there to be soothing to sun exposed skin, as well as acting as a bit of a liquefier for our mixture. It is not 100% necessary to functionality of the recipe, so if need be, you can omit it. I just find it is a nicer product with it included. The citronella acts as a natural mosquito repellent – and it smells nice, too πŸ™‚

NOTE: It is not advisable to hand mix this recipe, as the zinc oxide tends to just separate if not mixed very vigorously with a processor. If you find that, when applied, your sunscreen contains a lot of white flecks, rather than being more uniformly white, you may need to process it longer.

*If you absolutely cannot find zinc oxide powder, you can use Penaten or some other zinc oxide based diaper rash ointment, and mix in double or triple the amount you would have used if you had the zinc oxide powder. I don’t recommend this health wise, as there are petroleum products in these creams, and the zinc is not likely to be non nano, but if you need to, it’s still better than the toxic regular sunscreen, and a LOT cheaper than the store bought naturals!

And there you have it! This sunscreen will go on a bit white-ish (especially if you use the diaper rash cream) but I find that to be the case with most store bought natural sunscreen as well. This recipe also is not waterproof. You WILL need to reapply after a swim or spending a lot of time in a water park. You just can’t make a waterproof sunscreen that is satisfyingly free of major toxins. So keep this in mind! And it IS greasy. That is just the nature of pretty much all natural, physical barrier sunscreen. I haven’t found any, storebought or not, that is not greasy to some extent.

If you find you get a burn using this sunscreen, either consider upping the amount of zinc oxide you use (just stir in some more into your current batch if you need to), or apply it more often. Another problem could be that you are applying the lotion “too thin” – you want to make sure you have a thicker layer on, as this is a BARRIER sunscreen, not a chemical based one.

I hope this recipe works for your family, and saves you some money too!