Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

  I don’t know about you, but when it comes to cider (as well as most things this time of year,) I prefer mine homemade. I am a highly sensitive person and an unexpected way that it comes out is in my taste for food and drink. When I was little, like 5 or 6, I could already sense if something had a preservative in it. I remember my Mom laughing when I would say “Ew, this tastes like preservatives!” She probably wondered where I got that from, and to be honest, I just kind of knew. I can also tell if something I taste has been near something that has gone bad – so very strange. It is a blessing and curse.

But one of the good things that has come of it is that I embrace the homemade lifestyle as much as I can because that is what my body craves. I am all about honoring the wishes of my body and my bio-individuality.

This is a easy recipe that I use when I am making homemade cider. It is simple and has very few ingredients so it doesn’t take a ton of prep.

Ingredients:

  • 10 apples, cut into quarters
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • Optional: Mulling spices

Directions:

  1. Place quartered apples in a crockpot or large stockpot. Add water until apples are covered with 2 inches of water.
  2. Stir in sugar and spices.
  3. Set crockpot on Low and let simmer for for 3 hours. (Or if you are making your cider on the stovetop: Bring to a boil. Boil uncovered, for 1 hour, then reduce to a simmer, cover pot, let simmer for 2 hours.)
  4. Mash with a potato masher and strain cider through a fine mesh sieve. Toss or repurpose the solids.
  5. Strain once more with cheesecloth to remove extra spices.
  6. Put in the refrigerator until chilled or enjoy warm.

This recipe is a classic and sure to please all of the cider lovers in your family. We enjoy this starting in the fall and going all the way through late winter. The taste truly sets the scene for a cozy night in. For ideas on how to dress it up more you can join my Newsletter.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! What are your go-to warm winter drinks?

Sending love & light,

Lena

Carpet Freshening Powder Recipe

I don’t know about you guys, but nothing drives me crazier than when I enter a room with a rug or carpet and I can smell that distinct pet smell. We have a new puppy at home and as much as I love him – the carpet has taken on a new smell since bringing him home. We do regular deep steam cleans of the carpet, but that is a lot of work and cost – as well as hard on the carpet, so I wanted to find an easier way to keep our upstairs carpets fresh and clean smelling all the time.

We try to keep as few chemical cleaners as possible in the house. I am a big fan of natural health and cleaning products so it was right up my alley to figure out a solution. I tried using Febreeze and other carpet sprays at first to help manage the smell but I would get headaches easily from the artificial fragrances used in those products. One day while scrubbing away I had a flashback to when I was a kid and seeing my Mom use a powder on the rugs to clean them. Why hadn’t I thought of that?

This is my recipe for an easy make-at-home, all natural, artificial fragrance-free carpet freshening powder:

Ingredient:

  • 2 cups Baking Soda
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 20 drops essential oils

Directions:

  1. Combine these ingredients together in a glass jar with a lid and shake well to mix. My favorite essential oils are lavender, lemon, rosemary, sage, Thieves, lemongrass, and grapefruit – but you can use whatever oils you prefer! I find that essential oil preferences are very personal.
  2. Sprinkle the powder on the carpet and let sit for about an hour. I find this is enough time for the fresh scent to soak in and for the stink to be pulled out.
  3. Vacuum carpet to pick up all leftover powder and enjoy your fresh home.

This is my regular go-to now. Every time I plan to vacuum, I sprinkle this powder beforehand, let it soak in, and then continue with my chore as planned. It is an easy, affordable way to fix the problem, and it uses ingredients you most likely already have at home! If you haven’t tried essential oils yet, I am a Young Living distributor, you can get in touch with me here and I can answer any questions you might have!

Does anyone else love making their own cleaning products with essential oils? What are your favorite recipes?

Wishing you all a beautiful day.

love & light,

Lena

Super Genes: A book review

(Disclaimer: Thank you to Blogging for Books for sending me this book for review.)

I am embarrassed to admit that this is my first Deepak book – where have I been, right? I ordered this book last year and although it sat there waiting for me to read it – for whatever reason I felt like I wasn’t ready. Then in a crazy flurry of excitement I pulled it out and read it in 2 days – which is fast for me.

It was a case of true synchronicity as Deepak Chopra goes into beautiful detail about some of the very things I have been studying lately at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

The book is split into 3 parts, Part One: The Science of Transformation, Part Two: Lifestyle Choices for Radical Well-Being, and Part Three: Guiding Your Own Evolution. While I was in the thick of Part One, I found myself wanting to rush ahead to get on to “the good stuff” because I am a very feeling person, not as big on diving deep into the science. That being said, I was thankful for the thorough opening because it gave a strong foundation for what was to come. My only slight issue with Part One was the references to animal testing – a lot of lab rat experiments that I find troubling.

Part Two is where I really became invested. I knew I wanted to heal my microbiome, but how? The advice that Chopra gives is good and probably aligns with what other wellness professionals have told you. Not at all surprising, but still a good reminder. The entire section can be summed up with the two rules he shares. “First, find out what’s good for you and what’s bad. Second, do what’s good for you while avoiding what’s bad.” So clear and simple yet powerful. I think the highlight for me was in the Diet section where he outlines an anti-inflammatory diet, which I have been wanting to for some time now.

The final part really focuses on Mindfulness, which I have enjoyed studying throughout my Masters work. He told me everything I was hoping to hear. The book really emphasizes the Mind-Body Connection and makes the reader feel empowered to take control and heal themselves from the inside out. This book made genetics feel a lot less like a “death sentence” and more like a starting point for every individuals wellness journey.

At the very least, this book gives anyone a great starting point for creating a healthier and happier life for themselves. I will be keeping this on my shelf as a resource for future clients.

I hope you enjoyed this review.

love & light,

Lena

All-Natural Hanging Birdseed DIY

These photos are actually from a the winter before last, my Dad and I always love making these all natural bird treats for all of our flying friends who stick around for the cooler months. I shared this as a DIY once upon a time at my old blog, Tiny Painter, but I love this project so much and it brings back such great memories that I wanted to share it again!

I figured with Valentine’s Day, this seemed like a perfect time to share my love for the birds with all of you. Growing up, my Grandpa was always passionate about taking care of the birds in his garden. He passed the passion onto my father, who then shared it with me. Whenever I am out in the yard, gardening, watching the birds, or just admiring the beauty all around me, I always feel so connected with both of them. It feels like a magical gift they gave me somehow.

Here are the instructions I originally shared:

Materials:

  • Birdseed
  • Coconut Oil
  • Cookie Cutters {whatever shape you please!}
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Stick/Pencil/Skewer
  • String

Directions:

In a microwave safe bowl, first warm up some coconut oil, it doesn’t take long because coconut oil liquifies pretty quickly! Place your cookie cutter(s) on foil and wrap edges to make sure the oil won’t spill out. Next, stir birdseed into your warm coconut oil. You can eyeball the amount, the oil is there to hold the seeds together without causing harm to the birds {Note: coconut oil is much healthier for birds than Crisco – which I have seen some people suggest, but please don’t – that is bad enough for humans, let alone the animals!}

Fill the cookie cutter with the oil and seed mixture. Insert your skewer in the mixture where you would like to thread your string for it to hang from. Place in freezer or outside for at least an hour for it to solidify. When the time comes to take your birdseed out of the cookie cutter, just place your hands around the edges of the cookie cutter, that will warm the oil up enough that they will slip out easily without losing their shape. The stick will also come out easily!

Thread a string through the hole and hang it on a tree that the birds like visiting!

What do you think? Is this a project you could see yourself enjoying with your family? You’ve got a little time before it gets too warm!

love & light,

Lena

Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

This time of year is so truly magical, isn’t it? I not only love the colors and smells of the season, but the flavors this time of year are so cozy and wonderful.

I’ve been craving those autumn and winter spices lately and wanted to find a healthy way to satisfy my sweet tooth. This recipe was modified through one shared by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, when I first found it, it sounded amazing but I know that my stomach really struggles with milk so I needed to find a way to create something similar without the dairy.

This is my favorite dessert right now! It totally tastes like a drinkable pumpkin pie and there is no guilt involved. For the past few months I have been trying to eat healthier and as I have cut more processed sugar out of my diet I have noticed a big difference. I thought I would notice the change by feeling more fit – which is true, but more importantly I have felt more positive on an emotional level.

This recipe will make either 2 small snack smoothies or 1 meal size smoothie.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 almond milk yogurt alternative
  • 3/4 coconut milk (vanilla or original)
  • a little honey if you use unsweetened milk
  • 1 banana (frozen)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of ground cloves

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into glass container (or metal, or ceramic, or anything not plastic) and enjoy!

This is an easy way to enjoy dessert without feeling guilty! Or, if you are in need of a little pick-me-up midweek for breakfast, forget the sugary cereal or breakfast bar and make yourself this smoothie! It makes every day a good day, if I do say so myself!

What are your favorite dessert and breakfast smoothies?

love & light,

Lena