Friday, February 19, 2010

Essential Oil Sprays

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. ~Edith Sitwell

The last two weeks we've been falling like dominoes with a cough cold sinus virus. Every winter I start to feel like I need to disinfect the entire house when everyone has been bringing home virus after virus. I love using essential oils. This first spray is a nice fragrance to lighten the air since we can't open the window.

I make enough for a small spray bottle (the type that you can find near the travel size items in the store). It ends up with about 1/4 cup.

Fill the spray bottle with water, leaving a little room at the top. Drop in the following essential oils:

2 drops clary sage
5 drops lemon
8 drops lavender

Place on the lid and shake gently. Spray around the room or on a light bulb. This is a very light, nice scent. If your spray bottle is large, increase the amounts accordingly.

You can use this as a spritzer around your house. It's light and energizing.

This spray is for cleaning, but has the added benefit of smelling wonderful.

I use a quart spray bottle and add:

2 drops tea tree oil
3 drops eucalyptus oil
6 drops lavender oil
7 drops lemon oil
2 drops rosemary oil

I fill the bottle with plain water and a two squirts of a concentrated organic
cleaner. Any organic cleaner will work. You can also use water without the cleaner. I use the spray to clean the bathroom and kitchen. For good measure I clean the phones, door knobs and other places germs cling to. The best part is the lovely fragrance. I also have a neat recipe for a citrus vinegar here: .


Thursday, February 18, 2010

White Chicken Chili Dinner

This week I made White Chicken Chili and thought you all might like the recipe. It's VERY simple. This is NOT the recipe on the back of the packet; so ignore those instructions.

White Chicken Chili

You'll need:
One packet of McCormick White Chicken Chili mix
2 cans beans, Northern Beans, Pinto, or Black. (Mixing is fine)
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Minute White or Brown Rice

In a soup pot saute the chicken breasts until no longer pink. Season them with garlic powder and chili pepper. Cool the chicken, then cut into smaller chunks. Put them back into the same pan. Add the beans, chicken and the envelope of seasoning. Add about 4 cups of water to the pan. I admit I just add it until it looks good. Bring to a boil and add the rice. If it's white, place on the lid, remove from heat and let it rest 10 minutes. If it's the quick brown rice, place on the lid, boil for 5 minutes and remove from heat to rest for 10 more minutes.

Serve as is, or add a tablespoon of Cheddar cheese to the bowl before putting in the chili. I add salsa and serve tortilla chips with it too.

You'll note this is different from the instructions on the packet. I love the seasoning, but the recipe didn't do much for me, so I experimented until I came up with this.

It's really good leftover. It should make about 4 servings, possibly 5 depending on how big the bowls are. If you have a larger family double the recipe. The rice turns this into a one pot meal, but you can leave it out if you wish.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Basil: An easy herb for the coming spring

My deck is still completely covered in snow. This year's winter brought snow to some parts of the country that rarely ever see it, so spring seems very far away at the moment. It's really not though, even if Mother Nature wants us to believe otherwise. Spring is only a month away (officially) so it's time to start thinking about your garden, spring cleaning, fresh(er) produce, and packing away that winter garb.

While Brenda is truly the gardener, I have been known to keep a few plants alive for an entire growing season. One of those lucky survivors were my basil plants. In fact, for someone who really doesn't have a green thumb (it leans a little more toward the black side), basil is a very forgiving and easy plant. Brenda has an excellent guide to basil on Old Fashioned Living. Be sure to check it out and get ready to grow some basil!

Something else you might like: Harvesting and Storing Herbs