Iced Lime Cubes – How To Get Your Vitamin C In Winter Season

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Iced Lime Cubes coverWinter is a long season for some of us, and depending on where you live, finding fresh citrus fruit all winter long, may not come so easily. Taking a good dose of vitamin C can help you fight off colds and flu, and the health benefits don’t stop there.

lime juice measureThe phytonutrients of citrus fruit has properties that are antibiotic, antioxidant, and anti-cancer. Consumed in your regular diet, it can super-charge your immune system, and assist your digestion by removing harmful bacteria, and reducing gut inflammation.

Freezing lime or lemon juice, is an easy way to get your vitamin C. It will keep in the freezer for four months, and I’ll show you how you can do this. Organic lemons and limes don’t keep long on the shelf. And dry indoor heating over a long winter, doesn’t help matters much. They may last longer in the fridge, but they tend to dry out.

limes in bowlI found these limes in the reduced-produce section at my local organic food store. Even though they’re blemished and have started to brown, they still have all of the juice, flavour, and nutrients intact. Limes will get bitter when they start to turn, their peel will shrivel and harden.

Using your preferred method, juice limes and pour into a measuring cup. A dozen limes made six ounces of juice that I use to make two types of Iced Lime Cubes.

One is pure lime juice poured into a tray to make Iced Lime Cubes, that I can quickly thaw for dips, sauces and salsas. And the other, Iced Lime-Water Cubes, a watered down version, made with the remaining 3 ounces of juice, at a ratio of 1:5.

The juice made enough to fill one tray of Iced Lime Cubes, and three trays of Iced Lime-Water Cubes. Once frozen, they store well up to four months in mason jars or plastic bags.

Iced Lime Cubes in Mason JarsI really love the Iced Lime-Water Cubes. They have so many simple and convenient uses.

I toss a cube into my water glass to freshen it up. I add them to rum drinks and vodka cocktails, instead of squeezing fresh lime. They’re fabulous added to tequila caesars, my signature drink. They give a nice lift to wine spritzers, and add an eye-squinting tartness to my apple cider.

And it doesn’t stop there. Iced Lime-Water Cubes make a great facial astringent, gentle skin toner, aftershave, and can help relieve tension headaches. It freshens up your skin, tightens pores, wipes away cubes in jars bacteria, and soothes irritation.

As a facial astringent, place a towel around your neck and slide an Iced Lime-Water Cube over your face in a slow circular motion.

As an aftershave, slide a cube around your shaved skin for a few seconds, to disinfect, sooth, and close up the pores.

To lessen puffiness after sleeping, place a towel around your neck, gently tilt your head back and slide the cube around your face, to hydrate andlime and cranberries tighten skin.

For tension headaches, use the same method, and slide the cube around your forehead. For additional migraine or tension headache relief, drink one or two glasses of water, add one Iced Lime Cube, and one tablespoon of raw honey per glass. Be certain it’s raw honey, which is rich in potassium and magnesium. These minerals help to relax arteries by allowing more blood flow to the brain. Now that can’t be a bad thing!

To reward yourself for the hard work, fill a limes in pot and green pepperspot with cold water and dump in the exhausted limes. I added these cranberries which were leftovers from decorating the kitchen over the holiday, they add a a lovely aroma. Bring the pot to a boil, cover lightly, reduce heat, and simmer for half an hour.

The steam fills your home with the delectable scent of fresh lime oil. The wafting molecules disinfect, cleanse, neutralize, freshen, and add moisture to the air in your home. It’s a good measure to take when  someone has a cold or flu, and you want to minimize the spread of germs and infection.

To enhance the effect, and create your own special brew, add a few drops of essential oils, like lemon, peppermint, or lavender to this cauldron of brewing goodness.

Can you think of other uses for Iced Lime -Water Cubes ? We’d love to read your ideas.

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Organic Homemade Gift Pack

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Leonbience Natural Gift PackI love simple pleasures, especially over the holiday. Homemade eggnog, grated nutmeg, holiday winter scene, twinkling lights, these are the things I look forward to each year. It’s how I like it, simple. Only this year, without realizing what I was getting myself into, I embarked on an idea to make homemade Winter Holiday gifts.

It all came about when I made a lip balm for someone complaining about constant chapped and cracked lips. From here, it spawned into a full-scale production of Winter Holiday craft making.

In the excitement of it all, I was remiss in  calculating the time it would take to complete this project, so I cannot give an estimated time of completion. It required that I become part chemist, part lab rat, in-house graphic designer, printing press, production, packaging, quality control, and gift wrap. I soon realized that if there was going to be any egg nogging this holiday season, I’d have to think like an elf, and move it!

I ordered the bottles and dispensers early, and they arrived the first week of December. I purchased them online at one of the many cosmetic packaging companies that offer small quantity purchasing. I adapted the kitchen into a pop-up laboratory,  and the dining room into the workshop for receiving, packaging, printing and shipping, and turned myself into an elf.

My motivation to do this was spawned by my immediate success with the lip balm, thanks to Wellnessmama for the recipe. It amazed me how easy it was to make, and how incredible the results are. Usually first-time homemade things are, well, you know, ten points for effort, but this was a success, right off the bat. I was hooked.

Most lip balms on the market contain synthetic ingredients, including many all-natural brands, that do little to add moisture to your lips. They’re made to feel good when you apply them, but you have to apply them repeatedly, prompting you to purchase them more regularly. They’re also made with synthetic flavourings which they don’t list.

Lip BalmsThe Natural Lip Balm smells like cinnamon toasts. While soothing your lips, it’s also moistening them with a difference you can feel in just one application. It heals and hydrates and leaves your lips with a light glistening finish. The ingredients are food-grade edible and organic.

The Chocolate Lip Balm is luscious. You think you’re applying Belgian Callebaut chocolate onto your lips. Pure raw cocoa butter and pure cacao powder give this recipe a powerful antioxidant complex. I warn you now that applying this balm has an addictive quality that’s rather habit forming, as the aromatic chocolate wafts up into the amygdala.

Blue bottle foamerFrom here I went on to making a foaming hand wash from concentrated liquid castille soap. It’s a saponified vegetable based soap made from the oils of olive and coconut. The blue glass-looking PVC-free foaming dispensers turn any liquid soap into a frothy, lathering spume. I formulated a spectacular fresh scent combining organic essential oils of Bergamot, Lemon and Grapefruit. It’s now my signature scent, appropriately named Citrus Elixir.

My pop-up, now resembling an apothecary, teaming with essential oils, glycerins, unguents and pyrex glass cylinders fit for an apprentice chemist. The only thing missing, a lab coat and the eggnog.

If you’re interested in comparing the cost of making your own, this organic Leonbience Natural Foaming Hand Wash will cost between .78 cents and $1.10. to make, depending on the price you pay for your liquid castille soap; I used Dr. Bronner’s. Heck the foaming dispenser costs more.

Cleansers

For my next preparation, I sought to liberate one of my neurosis: clean countertops. I love clean, not tidy clean, but chemical and germ-free clean. I get particularly concerned when I’m preparing food and it accidentally roles off the cutting board onto a countertop that I just sprayed with a toxic chemical cleaner–oh yum!

Commercial spray cleaners including disposable disinfectant wipes, leave invisible chemical residues that you can’t see and wouldn’t necessarily want to ingest.

Leonbience Natural All Purpose Disinfectant Spray has a mild and clean citrus scent that is natural and not boosted with chemical agents. It only contains three simple ingredients, and it uses oil to remove oil, imagine that? The oil-based liquid castille soap, combined with the powerful disinfecting, grease-lifting quality of grapefruit and lemon essential oils, gently cleanses and leaves surfaces clean and chemical free.

Salve

And lastly, my super active dog’s paws were suffering from a long summer and fall season of ball and frisbee play. His pads were cracking and rough.

This body salve is completely edible. The ingredients are almost identical to the lip balm.

Leonbience Natural Salve repairs as it soothes, it moisturizes as it disinfects and eliminates foot odour. After only three doggie spaw treatments, his pads where healing and felt smooth.

Homemade Chocolate Bark

To top off my Gift Pack, a bundle of chocolate bark to temp and entice you in.

Four easy to make, yet time consuming varieties with semisweet chocolate, adding combinations of caramel, pecans, pretzels, walnuts, cranberries and shortbread. They were a big hit, so much so that two bags went missing from the workshop.

Organic Package

All and all it was a lot of fun to make, and it gave me a great sense of satisfaction, not to mention a green light to dismantle the lab, tidy the workshop, and enjoy my winter scene with a tumbler of egg nog.

 

 

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Bourbon Baked Beans

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Bourbon Baked Beans

Cold weather is fast approaching for us Northerners and I got me a hankering for homemade baked beans!

Maker's Mark

I love the sweet smell of maple and molasses wafting through the house, like a slow fire burning in the hearth.

The caramelizing of the beans, coupled with smooth straight Kentucky bourbon, gives this recipe a depth of flavour unmatched by any other.

The slow-cook produces a dish that’s deep in flavour, rich in colour, with the consistency of chocolate, and has a remarkable finish on the palate.

And there’s no meat, it’s completely vegan. It calls for a little bit of prep time, and a whole lot of wait time. Soak the beans, pour in a crock pot, add the liquid, stir, and let the magic happen.

 

BOURBON BAKED BEANS

Serves 8 bountiful bowls.

What you’ll need: medium size crock pot / mixing bowl / large pot for soaking in water

Ingredients

1 & 1/2 pounds northern beans (3/4 bag)

1 & 1/2 cups water

1 & 1/4 cups maple syrup

3/4 cup bourbon

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup dijon

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup fancy molasses

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

The beans need to soak for 12 hours and cook for 18, and there’s no way to rush this process, so planning and patience are your best friends.

Place beans in a large pot. Fill with cold water and soak for 12 hours.

Rinse and drain the beans in a colander and discard any bits of skin that may have separated. Pour the drained beans into the crock pot.

Whisk the ingredients in a mixing bowl and pour the liquid mixture over the beans. The liquid should rise above the beans, if not add water. Set the temperature on low and allow to cook for 18 hours.

Here’s where the planning comes in, so work your way backwards from when you want to serve them. Let’s say they’re for Sunday night’s dinner.

Start Saturday morning by soaking them for the day. Just before bedtime prepare the liquid mixture and set them to cook on low overnight.

In the morning, check to see if they have enough liquid covering the beans, if not add 1/2 cup of water. Now this is where the patience comes in due to the extraordinary wafting; but by 4:00 you’ll have created a chef d’oeuvre.

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I didn’t make them for a specific meal so I let the beans soak overnight till noon the next day. That evening before bedtime, I added 1/2 cup of water, stirred the pot, and said good night. The next morning they were just gorgeous!

If you make a double batch, they freeze well in airtight containers.

To Share this recipe, please link to this blog. Photos are author’s property and copyright protected. Maker’s Mark is a registered trademark.

If you’d like to know more about bourbon and how it’s made, visit the makersmark.com

 

Dog Cookies Natural Easy-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal

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I have an active border collie who luvs his dog cookies more than anything in his world. I’ve been feeding him Milkbone cookies at a rate of 3, and sometimes 4, per day. One day, amid the controversy of food labelling, it occurred to me to read the ingredients on the box.

What I uncovered, was a ruse. I unraveled a paragraph of chemical cocktails, fused into the shape of a bone, disguised as dog cookies (one big backhand to the head, sorry little guy).

cookies in jar it copyI needed a recipe that’s easy enough to make once a week, with all the goodness of natural ingredients. I didn’t want any dairy, and I didn’t want store-bought because frankly, I have trust issues, and anything gourmet organic for dogs is priced out of my league.

I’m pretty good in the kitchen and so I came up with this simple recipe. Dog park taste-testing gave it a 5 paws up, it doesn’t get better than this.

This recipe makes enough dough for a large batch of cookies, approximately 30 if you cut them large.

The fancy ingredients are not required, just use your old reliable if it suits you.

What You’ll Need : 2 large baking sheets / 1 extra large mixing bowl / 1 medium mixing bowl / 1 roll parchment paper / 1 good set of hands or food processor

PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL DOG COOKIES

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Wet Ingredients Dog Cookies

Dry Ingredients

4 cups organic flour

2 cups organic rolled oats

3/4 tsp organic turmeric

1/4 tsp Ceylon cinnamon

1/4 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients

1/2 to 1 cup natural peanut butter

1/4 cup virgin coconut oil

2 large eggs

1 Tbsp raw honey

1  cup cold water, sometimes a bit more

In an extra large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

In a medium mixing bowl beat the eggs, honey, coconut oil, and peanut butter, and add the mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients.

Use either your hands, a pastry blender, a combo of both, or a food processor to get a good consistency.

Add 1 cup of the water, and combine well with your hands or food processor.

If dough isn’t forming add a bit of water, like 1/8th of a cup and knead lightly until it forms a ball.

Set the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, and place  bottom rack one up from the bottom, and the other, two rows above it.

Prepare two large cookie sheets with a layer of parchment paper to avoid any sticking. Spread out a three foot long sheet of parchment paper on your countertop to roll out the dough. I reuse this piece repeatedly, as well as the paper on the cookie sheets.

Lay the ball on the centre of your paper and sprinkle with some floor. Use a floured rolling pin, or wine bottle and roll the dough out, moving from centre outwards. You should end up with a large oblong slab that’s about a 1/2 inch thick. If the edges of the slab are breaking apart, fuse them by pushing them in and re-roll the edge.

I use a pizza wheel to cut out the size that I like. Place them tightly on the backing sheets as they don’t rise or spread, and you’ll need the space. They need to bake for approximately 50 minutes. Flip the cookies over over half way through. It’s important to bake them evenly. To compensate for my oven’s ability to burn baked things on the lower rack, I have to rotate the baking sheets every ten minutes. The idea is to bake them long enough to dry them out and achieve that extra hard crunch consistency that’s too hard for human teeth, when dry.

Allow them to cool completely and store in an airtight glass jar. Plastic containers can kill the crunch.