cookiecrisp

Homemade ‘Spookie Crisp’ Cereal for Halloween

homemadespookiecrisp

I’m going to make this post really short and sweet. Take a look at the two ingredient lists below and decide for yourself which you would rather serve your family! While this does take more time than pouring a box of cereal into a bowl, it is totally worth it and a fun recipe to make with the little ones!

General Mills Cookie Crisp:
Corn Whole Grain, Sugar, Sugar Brown, Corn Meal, Flavored Chips Chocolate (Sugar, Wheat Starch, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Corn Starch, Corn Flour Yellow, Soybean(s) Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Salt, Dextrose, Baking Soda, Chocolate Liquor, Monoglyceride Distilled, Soy Lecithin, Flavor(s) Natural & Artificial, Tricalcium Phosphate [Anti-Caking Agents] ) , Corn Starch Modified, Oat(s) Whole Grain, Rice Bran Oil and/or, Canola Oil, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Salt, Fructose, Tricalcium Phosphate, Corn Syrup, Flavor(s) Natural & Artificial, Trisodium Phosphate, Vitamin E (Tocopherols Mixed (Vitamin E)) , BHT added To Preserve Freshness, Vitamins And Minerals :, Calcium Carbonate, Zinc and, Iron Mineral Nutrients, Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C)) , Vitamin aB (Niacinamide (Vitamin aB)) , Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (HCL)) , Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)) , Vitamin B1 (Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1)) , Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Vitamin aB (Folic Acid (Vitamin aB)) , Vitamin A Palmitate

Homemade Spookie Crisp:
Coconut Oil, Cane Sugar, Coconut Sugar, Vanilla, Egg, Gluten-Free Flour, Oatmeal, Sea Salt, Baking Soda, Cacao Nibs/Chocolate Chips

What you Need

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1/8 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (avoid any that contains soy)
  • 3/4 cup old fashion oatmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pastured egg
  • 3/4 cup cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips
  • unbleached parchment paper

    Directions

      1. Combine the gluten-free flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
        2. In a second bowl, beat the coconut oil, cane sugar, coconut sugar and vanilla extract until creamy (takes about 3-4 minutes). Add the egg and beat well.
        3. Gradually beat in the dry mixture and finally stir in the cocao nibs of mini chocolate chips. Cacao nibs offer a very different taste, less sweet than mini chocolate chips. If you are not used to cacao I encourage you to try it, however using chocolate chips still makes this recipe a TON better than General Mills.
        4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the dough in the fridge while you wait for the oven to preheat (this makes handling the dough easier).
        5. Roll the dough into tiny balls (1/2 tsp size) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
        6. To make the cookies, lightly press down on the balls with a spoon.
        7. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Store in an airtight container until ready to enjoy (with whole milk of course! or better yet.. raw!)
        Pictures below to help.Happy Halloween!IMG_7782
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CleanBakingSoda

BakingSodaCleaning
Avoid the harmful chemicals found in many commercial cleaning products and opt for a non-toxic cleaning routine. One ingredient that’s a must-have for DIY non-toxic cleaning is Baking Soda.
Baking soda has a gentle, yet extremely effective scrubbing power. It reacts with the grime and grease to form glycerol, which is an ingredient commonly found in soaps. An added benefits is baking soda’s alkali property to neutralize acids in odors allowing it to eliminate strong, unwanted smells.

Here are 22 Non-Toxic ways to clean with Baking Soda!

1. Drain Cleaner: Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. Let the solution fizz and follow by pouring 6 cups of hot water down the drain.

2. Clean the Dog: My vet recently shared with me that between shampoos I could sprinkle a bit of baking soda on her fur and massage it in with her brush.

3. Carpet Stain Remover: Mix 1 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of white vinegar. Mix together into a paste and apply to the stain. Let dry and then vacuum to clean up.

4. Sneaker Stink-Stopper: Freshen up a pair of sneakers by sprinkling a bit of baking soda into the soles.

5. Air Freshener Spray: Mix water, baking soda and your favorite essential oil together for a beautiful air spray. Recipe here.

6. Coffee/Tea Stain Remover: Clean the stains found in your favorite coffee/tea mug by placing a tsp of baking soda in and a cup of water. Wipe clean with a cloth.

7. Clean Kids Toys: Pour 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of warm water and stir until the baking soda is dissolved. Pour into a spray bottle and spray on toys. Rinse with water and dry.

8. Baking Soda Shake Freshener: Use a mason jar, baking soda, cloth and essential oil for this great natural air freshener. Recipe here.

9. Deodorize Trash Can: Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda in the trash bin once a week to keep the unwanted smells at bay.

10. Clean Stainless Steal Kitchen Sink: Use a bit of baking soda and vinegar soaked paper towels to safely clean your sink. Follow these directions.

11. Boost Laundry Colors: add a 1/2 cup of baking soda to your load of laundry to naturally boost your colors and help fight stains

12. Closet Deodorizer: place a small glass jar of baking soda in your coat closet to keep the musty smell at bay (especially in moist temperatures).

13. Clean Stovetop: pour baking soda directly on the grime. With a damp sponge, softly scrub the stovetop in a circular motion. Wipe clean with a wet cloth.

14. Fridge Deodorizer: place a small glass jar of baking soda in the fridge to keep away unpleasant odors.

15. Clean Combs and Brushes: let your hair combs and brushes soak in a cup of water mixed with 1 tbsp of baking soda.

16. Grout Cleaner: mix together 6 cups of water, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 lemon juice and a 1/4 cup vinegar. Soak a cloth and wet grout. Let sit for a minute or so before using a brush to scrub the dirt in the grout.

17. Oil Stain Remover: dump baking soda over oil spills and stains in the garage and scrub with a bristle scrub brush.

18. Clean the Oven: Mix together 1 cup white vinegar with 1/2 cup lemon juice and pour into a spray bottle. Spray the bottom of the oven over the mess. Let it sit for 10 minutes before sprinkling baking soda on top. Leave for 5-10 minutes and wipe with a cloth. Most of the mess with come off without the need for scrubbing.

19. Litter-Box Deodorizer: mix in a bit of baking soda to your kitties litter box to naturally deodorize the space.

20. Whiten Cloth Diapers: Mix 1/3 cup baking soda in a quart of warm water and let dissolve. Soak cloth diapers in mixture before putting in the laundry for a regular wash cycle. It also helps to lay them to dry in the sun instead of using the dryer.

21. Fruit and Veggie Wash: use water, baking soda and lemon juice to remove wax off of fruits such as apples and grapes. View the recipe here (#2).

22. Soak the Dishes: add a few teaspoons of baking soda to your water-filled sink when you soak your dishes after a big meal. It will help begin the cleaning process on those tough stuck on foods before you put them in the dishwasher.

Do you have other ways you clean with Baking Soda? Please share them in the comments below.

For more great All-Natural Cleaning tips, check out my cleaning board on HomeTalk.RethinkSimpleHometalk

RoseFacialMist

RoseWater
With the dry and cold winter months just around the corner I am starting to think about ways to keep my skin healthy and hydrated. One of my favorite ways to accomplish this is with this simple DIY Facial Spritz.

This amazing mist leaves skin hydrated and refreshed. This is a natural toner, perfect to apply first thing in the morning and a must-have for dry conditions.

Hydrating Rose Facial Mist

What You Need:

  • 1/2 cup distilled water
  • 1/2 cup rose water
  • 1 tsp witch hazel
  • small dark spray bottle
  • funnelDirections:
    Using a funnel, pour the ingredients into a dark spray bottle. Keep in a cool place. You can also choose to make your own rose water using clean roses that have not been sprayed with pesticides with this simple DIY method. Note that it will not produce as pure of product. Since I can not source fresh clean roses I do buy this.

Homemade Rose Water

1. Place the rose petals from 1 rose (petals only, not the stem or leaves) in a small pot and add 1 cup of distilled water. Cover with a lid and let simmer on low heat for 30-40minutes. The water should not boil. You will notice the petals loosing their color and an oil residue forming on the surface of your distilled water.
2. Using a fine kitchen strainer, strain the petals and let cool completely.

Store in a cool place (do not leave in your car or purse during the summer) for up to a month.

Suggested Use

Daily Care:
– After cleansing
– After shower
– When sunburned
– To set makeup
– After shaving / waxing
– During travel

Benefits:

-Restoring, toning and moisturizing
-Anti-aging and rejuvenating
-Uplifts emotional levels
-Balances skin Ph level
-Anti-inflammatory, acne-preventing
-Protects and purifies skin

MASCARA

Mascara_Safe

I will come out and say it, I used to wear a LOT of makeup. Every day I would wake up and shower, blow dry and straighten my hair, put on my ‘face’ and get dressed to the nines. I always cared what I looked like, and didn’t feel comfortable if I wasn’t looking ‘my best’. Fast forward 6 years and my idea of being presentable is having had a shower in the last 24 hours. Okay- that may be because I have a baby that keeps me from spending any extra time on myself, but it’s also because I came to the realization that I don’t want to spend that much time or effort on the way I look and I don’t want to put all that crap on my face.

So my beauty routine has changed drastically, and the focus has been on spending less time while still feeling great when I’m heading out for something special like date night.  I have my cosmetics down to one must-have… Mascara!
Somehow, applying 1 layer of mascara makes me look like I had a full night’s sleep and put effort into my appearance! Score.. OR SO I THOUGHT!

I recently read that Mascara was one of the few items that have been exempt from the UN Mercury Treaty. In short, this means that under a new global treaty that limits the use of mercury, some light bulbs will be banned, some batteries, thermometers and medical devices will be banned, but mascara is exempt! The treaty, signed by over 140 countries did include a ban on mercury use in most cosmetics and soaps, but it explicitly excluded mascara and other eye makeup. Read the full treaty release here.

WHY?

“They”  say that they haven’t found a viable substitute for mercury in mascara which acts both as a preservative and germ-killer. While it’s advertised as being found only in trace amounts, the FDA allows its presence at a concentration of up to 65 parts per million. Plus- studies haven’t been done to see the effect of long term use, such as daily application of mercury containing mascara.

Mercury is a known neurotoxin. High levels can cause neurological effects and kidney damage in addition to affecting the brain of a developing fetus if pregnant women are exposed (source).

I was drawn to the argument that mercury was needed as a germ-killer in cosmetics, so I dug a little deeper. It seems as though it’s quite a valid concern. According to a study in Optometry, bacteria that is commonly found in your eye is transferred to the mascara wand upon application, and returned to the bottle where it then ‘breeds’. Researchers found high levels of bacteria, and concerning ones at that. They found staphylococcus, Streptococcus and fungi to name just a few, and found them in large amounts. Without a germ-killer of some sort, the bacteria would breed quickly.

MascaraSafetyMercury

IS YOUR MASCARA SAFE?

So while researchers have suggested that mascara is considered ‘safe’ for 3 months, the same amount of time that companies can ensure that the preservatives (like mercury) are doing their germ-killing duty, I don’t agree. Not only is mercury found in mascara as a preservative, but many mascaras are chalk-full of nasty ingredients and harsh chemicals. I have found a company that not only keeps mercury out of their products, but uses organic and natural ingredients for their mascara. Check out the ingredients found in the popular Lash Blast mascara versus the Organic Infused Afterglow PureSoul Mascara that I now buy.
Kristin Adams, chief executive officer of Afterglow Cosmetics states that “The FDA does not require ingredients that comprise less than 1 percent of a cosmetic product to be divulged on the label, so a lot more products may have thimerosal and consumers would never know.” While she shares they are mercury-free, she did not share what they are using as a replacement. Mercury aside, the ingredient list below speaks volumes to which mascara would be best for your body.

CoverGirl Lash Blast Mascara Ingredients: Water, Glyceryl Stearate, Ammonium Acrylates Copolymer, Disteardimonium Hectorite,Propylene Glycol, Stearic Acid, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Triethanolamine,Acrylates Copolymer, Synthetic Wax, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Lecithin, Propylene Carbonate,Polyethylene, Oleic Acid, Alcohol Denat., Benzyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Panthenol,Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Sodium Laureth Sulfate,Trisodium EDTA, Simethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Iron Oxides.

Organic Infused Afterglow PureSoul Mascara Ingredients: Purified water, organic fructose from corn, wildcrafted candelilla wax, caprylic/capric triglyceride, organic beeswax, vegetable glycerin, glyceryl stearate, stearic acid, mica, organic aloe vera gel, organic grapefruit seed extract, organic rosemary extract, wildcrafted lichen, organic arnica extract (buy some here).

SO WHAT NEXT?

  1. If you are worried about the mercury and possible other preservatives in mascara then I would encourage you to consider making your own with this recipe.
  2. If you are more worried about the long list of chemicals and additives found in large brand commercial mascaras then I would suggest buying a more natural version.
    3. And finally- you could opt to just not wear mascara, but like I said, that is just not an option for me 🙂 And hopefully the UN Mercury Treaty will make some updates to include all cosmetics soon!

 

Caramel_Popcorn

CaramelPopcorn
This popcorn is SO delicious and while it takes a bit of time to make, it is really really simple. This is a recipe given to me by a family friend, with some ingredients swapped out. It makes a delicious dessert or a perfect food to bring to a potluck or family gathering. You can even make a batch, place it in a decorative jar and give it as a hostess gift around the holidays.

popcorn_jar

Ingredients
– 1 cup of non-GMO popcorn
– 1/2 cup butter
– 3/4 cup honey
– 2 cups coconut sugar
– pinch of sea salt
– 2 tsp of vanilla
– 1 tsp of baking soda

Directions
1. Pop 1 cup of popcorn. I love my simple popcorn maker.
2. In saucepan, melt 1/2cup butter, pinch of sea salt, 3/4 cup honey and 2 cups coconut sugar.
3. Boil for 5 minutes.
4. Remove from heat add 1 tsp of baking soda and 2 tsp of vanilla. Stir quickly.
5. Place popcorn in buttered roaster, pour syrup over and mix. Bake in over 250degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes.
Yes, that part is kind of a pain in the butt, but just set an alarm to go off every 10 minutes and it is over before you know it. Believe me, it’s worth it!

DogTreatBanner

IMG_7152
Meet Rain! Rain joined our family just under two years ago. She is a rescue dog whom has the most gentle yet energetic soul. I spend so much time in the kitchen making food for our family that I thought it was about time to try something for our canine family member. We are extremely picky about what she eats so I created a dry biscuit with only 5 ingredients. This recipe yields approximately 24-30 biscuits using a 3.5 inch dog bone cookie cutter.

Ingredients
1/2 cup of smooth organic peanut butter
1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup coconut flour

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl whisk together peanut butter, coconut oil and broth. If your coconut oil has been kept in a cold place, warm it on the oven first.
3. In a second bowl, combine the coconut flour and oatmeal. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
4. Place dough on flour dusted surface and roll the dough with a rolling pin. You want the dough to be about 1/4inch thick so the treats can bake evenly.
5. Use a bone cookie cutter to cut out cookies.  Roll out leftover scraps and cut out as many as possible.
6. Place the cookies on unbleached parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
7. Let cool completely before giving it to your canine friend!
Pictures below to help!

DogTreatRoll

DogTreatShape
DogTreatBake
Dog_Treats

DIYHalloweenCostumes copy

DIYHalloweenCostumes
My little one is too young for trick-or-treating.. but young enough where I get to pick what he is for Halloween (hehe). Since I don’t want to be spending a lot of money on a costume, and don’t have much spare time to make a fancy one, I searched high and low for some great costume options that require little time and utilize many items you already have at home!


GIRLS

Paper Doll– This cute paper doll costume can hold its own against Halloween ghouls, ghosts, and goblins.

Raining Cats and Dogs– Uh-oh: Watch out for poodles! Pull out your child’s slicker and Wellies and a few of her furry friends for a clever conceptual costume.

Unicorn– This scrappy DIY tutorial takes less than an hour and turns your little girl into a beautiful unicorn (just be careful with those safety pins!)

Owl– Here’s an easy way to turn a t-shirt into an owl costume in a couple of hours.


BOYS

Mario and Luigi-Make these popular nintendo characters in no time!

Little Bearded Knome– Part of a cute woodland crew, this Little Bearded Gnome dons a fake fur and has a getup made from felt, fabric, hot glue, and ordinary kids’ clothing.

The Shark– A gray sweat suit is quickly transformed into a vicious (okay, adorable) shark in minutes.

Rocket Powered Jet Pack– Who know that a little garbage, paint, felt and glue could turn into every boys dream costume! This tutorial takes only 20 minutes.

UNISEX

Hot Air Balloon Costume– this is an absolutely delightful costume that is sure to “carry you away…”

Pig in a Blanket– Hands down, the hit of the Halloween party season.

No-sew Jack-0-Lantern– A popular costume made easy.

Bat– Add this quick DIY bat hat to an all black costume and you have the perfect last minute costume.

What are your kids being this year? Please let me know in the comments below!

Happy Halloween!

900x200bannerThis post is part of the 31 Days of Homemade Halloween Series. The series includes a new post daily, ranging from recipes to DIY projects and tips. Check out this Pinterest Board for a DIY Halloween!

Giveaway

The Excalibur Dehydrator Giveaway has come to a close. I have so much fun with these giveaways and look forward to continuing to be able to share a great new appliance/tool with my readers! If you are interested in getting updates for future giveaways and receiving notifications for new blog posts please subscribe to Rethink Simple!

Your Email

And the winner is…

Melissa (cafeconleche)

A winner will be chosen via random.org. The winner will have 48 hours to contact (nourishingherbalist at gmail dot com) with his/her full name, address, and phone number. There is no purchase necessary to win. This giveaway is open to everyone, but the Excalibur Dehydrator will only be shipped to U.S. or Canadian residents. Winners who live outside of these areas will receive an Amazon gift card in the amount of the item sale price on Amazon

bread_in_a_jar

bread-in-a-jar-copy
I’m excited to share that I’m over guest blogging for Karen at Living Low Carb, One Day at a Time. Karen, a fantastic real food blogger, is working on a new cookbook that will be coming out later this year (I will share it with you all) and asked for a post to share with her readers.

I’ve shared with Karen my recipe for Sweet Potato Bread in a Jar!

“The best gifts come from the heart- and the kitchen, so why not share the Real Food love with your friends and family. This Sweet Potato Bread in a Jar is a great way to share the love with those you care most about. They are Paleo, Grain-free and are naturally sweetened. Best of all, they taste delicious and come in a mason jar. This recipe yields 3 mason jar loaves (double or triple the recipe to make more). Have fun giving!” 

Head on over to view the recipe and while you are at it give Living Low Carb, One Day at a Time a big like on facebook!

BreadJarSteps
View the recipe here.

parfaitcup

LEMON_PARFAIT
Halloween can be a tough time for us Real Food Foodies, especially if you plan on having guests over or hosting a Halloween party. It’s hard to find festive foods that fit into our restrictions while still pleasing others in our life. These Candy Corn inspired Parfait Cups are a great option for Halloween-themed get togethers or to serve the kiddos for dessert.
You can always keep this around as a non-halloween treat by swapping the oranges for your choice of fruit. I personally love this with fresh strawberries (YUM).

Ingredients (makes four servings)

– Heavy Cream
– Oranges
Lemon Curd:
– 1/2 cup raw honey
– 3 whole eggs, pastured
– 3 egg yolks, pastured
– 2/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)

Directions
To make the Lemon Curd
1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together honey, eggs, yolks and lemon juice. Mix well without whisking too much air into it (try to lesson the number of bubbles that are produces).
2. Pour the lemon curd mixture into the top pot of a double boiler. If you do not have a double boiler you can rest a glass or steel bowl over a smaller pot with water to make the same effect. Ensure that the bowl or pot containing the mixture does not touch the water directly.
3. Bring the water to a light simmer. Using a spatula, continuously stir and wipe the edges and bottom of the bowl for an even cooking. You will continue stirring until the mixture becomes a little more like a pudding. That being said- keep the simmer to minimum and stir often. You want to avoid cooking the eggs to quickly, resulting in a scrambled egg pudding 🙂 It took about 6-8 minutes to get the right consistency.
4. Evenly pour the curd into your parfait cups. Cover the cups with a small piece of food wrap and place in the fridge for an hour to set.
Topping
1. Add a layer of diced oranges and top with freshly whipped cream (I used a whipped cream dispenser to make the topping look oh-so pretty).
2. Serve and enjoy!

Happy Halloween!

900x200bannerThis post is part of the 31 Days of Homemade Halloween Series. The series includes a new post daily, ranging from recipes to DIY projects and tips. Check out this Pinterest Board for a DIY Halloween!