Elderberry Syrup

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Elderberry syrup is a sweet, simple, and effective way to support the immune system. It’s very beneficial for respiratory problems, one of the most effective remedies for viral and bacterial infections, rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, and can significantly shorten the duration of your illness if you do get sick. Plus, it requires only two ingredients and tastes great!

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup dried elderberries

  • 3 1/2 cups water

  • 1 cup raw, buckwheat honey (you can use any raw honey, but buckwheat has been shown to be especially effective against coughs and colds)

  • optional add-ins: cinnamon stick, 1 TB grated ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Place dried berries and water (and optional add-ins) in saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

  2. Simmer for about 45 minutes until reduced by half.

  3. Strain into glass bowl.

  4. Cool and then add raw honey.

  5. Pour into a jar and refrigerate.

For health maintenance, take 1 TB a day (1 tsp for children). During illness, take 1 TB (1 tsp for children) every 2-3 hours.  

Holiday Gift Guide 2017

For any of you last-minute shoppers out there who, like me, prefer to shop in your pajamas and couldn't live without Amazon Prime, this list is for you. It's not a long list, but simply a few of our family's favorite things...from some fun stocking stuffers for the kids, all the way to the granddaddy present of them all - the Vitamix! Here you have it!  

Stocking Stuffers - For the Kids

 

 

All of my kids, regardless of age, love these scratch and sketch books. There are several to choose from (different ones for different ages), and they keep the kids busy.

 

 

 

This series of journals is awesome for kids starting probably around the age of 8. I give one to my older kids each year and they love them. They really encourage creativity and writing in kids, prompting them with different activities and ways to literally "wreck" their journal, making journal keeping fun. Highly recommend.

 

 

This joke book, because, really, what kid doesn't love some dumb kid humor?

 

 

 

 

My younger kids love these Melissa and Doug Color by Numbers.

 

 

 

 

In my house, you can never go wrong with a small box of Legos in the stocking. Always a winner.

 

 

 

My 11-year-old daughter and I love coloring these adult coloring books together!

 

Stocking Stuffers - For the Health /Chocolate /Snack /Coffee Lover

 

These Square Organics Bars are my favorite healthy, chocolate protein bars! These taste great and are low in sugar and high in nutrition. Our personal favorites are chocolate peanut butter and chocolate mint. Use this link for an automatic discount, or use code HealthyHomeHelp at checkout.

 

 

These Eating Evolved chocolate coconut butter cups are a healthy favorite around here. Mint is my personal favorite.

 

 

 

Dark chocolate that is organic, fair-trade, and without emulsifiers!

 

 

 

 

Finally, organic Nespresso compatible pods for the coffee lover in your life!

 

 

 

 

I've built up quite a collection of insulated coffee cups and water bottles, because can you really ever have too many? I think not.

 

 

 

 

Essential oils are always a good idea, especially for helping to ward of sickness in the winter months!

 

 

 

 

 

I love this "I. Can't. Even." coffee mug for the moms in your life.

 

 

 

 

These Vital Proteins individual collagen packets are perfect stocking stuffers for the health food lover in your life.

 

 

 

Gift Ideas for the "Real Foodie" in Your Life

 

 

This glass Chemex pour-over coffee maker for the best tasting coffee you'll ever drink...and plastic free!

 

 

 

 

 

I use my Lodge cast iron skillet every single day for the best, non-toxic cooking!

 

 

 

These PlanetBox lunch boxes are awesome! I send them to work with my hubby, and use them for my kids as well. They are high-quality stainless steel, and cut way down on plastic consumption.

 

 

sunbasket

 

Sun Basket Meal Delivery makes meal planning easy, delicious, and healthy!! Use this link to save $50 off your oder, or this link to purchase a gift card.

 

 

dry-farm-wines-final

 

Healthy Wine Delivery! Dry Farm Wines  is the only health-focused , organic wine subscription in the world!

 

 

 

 

And, for the ultimate, grandaddy present for any health-conscious, real foodie in your life...the Vitamix. There's not a single day that goes by that I don't use mine. In my opinion, it is an investment very well made!

DIY All-Purpose Cleaner

All-purpose cleaner  

It's so incredibly easy to make homemade cleaning solutions, and so important to change out toxic cleaners for safe, not-toxic alternatives. With all the evidence of the negative health effects from the chemicals that are in the majority of store-bought cleaners, there's no reason not to make a switch...especially when it's as simple as this!

I typically use a homemade cleaner made with vinegar and essential oils, but have recently learned that vinegar is really not the best option for granite countertops. That's because the acidity can cause etching on granite countertops. So, I'm removing the vinegar from my countertop spray!

I use essential oils in my cleaners because they have potent antimicrobial properties and disinfecting properties, and, of course, they smell amazing. Citrus Bliss is a blend of citrus oils that is one of my favorite scents on the planet (yes, I love it that much), but some other good choices for cleaning products are the on guard blend, lemon, melaleuca (tea tree), peppermint, lavender, and orange. I like to change it up depending on what I'm in the mood for. On Guard is my go-to during the winter months for that added immune boost! (Citrus essential oils come from the rind, not the juice of citrus fruits, so they are not acidic, making them safe for use on granite and marble countertops.)

Note: Do not make large amounts at a time, as water-based products should be used quickly. When you use water in a product without a preservative, bacteria can be introduced. Tap water should be used within a couple of weeks, or you can boil the water for longer storage.

Here's what you need:

  • 1 glass spray bottle (essential oils increase the likelihood that plastic bottles will leach chemicals. They also cause the plastic to break down over time.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 TB castile soap
  • 20 drops essential oil 

Combine all ingredients in glass bottle and shake well before each use!

 

Foaming Hand Soap

img_9188 In light of the recent post I did on "eating dirt" and avoiding antibacterial products, I thought I'd show you an easy homemade hand soap that I love. I avoid antibacterial soaps because of their toxic ingredients and potential to create resistant bacteria. Instead, I opt for homemade versions using essential oils. Homemade hand soap is one of the simplest natural recipes you can make! It takes just a couple ingredients and is gentle, effective, toxin-free, and smells great!

I use essential oils because they achieve the same anti-microbial results but without creating bacterial resistance, and castile soap is friendly to your skin, safe, and effective. This soap is more watery than the soap you might be used to, which is why I like to put it in a foaming dispenser. It's perfect and produces a great lather!

Here's what you need:

  • Foaming soap dispenser (I use this one)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup liquid castile soap (I use this one)
  • 20 drops OnGuard essential oil, or oils of your choice (I use these oils. And there is a great special going on right now that you can take advantage of!)

Add the castle soap and essential oils to your dispenser followed by the water, and shake it up a little. That's all there is to it!