Homespun Apothecary

I love the Internet for a multitude of reasons. These reasons include videos of sea otters doing cute things, all of buzzfeed, and finding rad folks who are making really lovely all-natural skin products. I stumbled upon a site called Homespun Apothecary, which is a blog and online store that sells handcrafted salves and balms for a variety of common maladies.  This lovely husband and wife team make a balm for nerve pain, achy body balm and a magic put-this-stuff-on-anything balm just to name a few. The descriptions of the products are delightfully in depth and cover everything from the story behind the product, to it’s intended uses and benefits, as well as a breakdown of why they used certain ingredients. Naturally I had to buy something and will likely buy EVERYTHING they make.

I went with That Healing Feeling Balm, which is the aforementioned put-this-stuff-on-anything balm. The main ingredient is Plantain, which is apparently some MAGICAL plant which is used throughout the world to treat a bevy of conditions. I chose this one in particular because of its suggested use for new tattoos and piercings. I have gotten a few tattoos in my day, and am in the process of getting a large piece on my arm re-worked. While I enjoy getting tattoos I have never found the perfect after-care treatment. I use the recommended three days of aquaphor, but I could do without that, it’s a goopy mess and you know, it’s like petroleum. Which may be weird? I don’t know. Anyway, I usually switch to something less goopy for the rest of the healing process, and this time around I have been using straight coconut oil. Which has provided a reasonable amount of moisture, but still, not a perfect solution. Anyone who has gotten a tattoo can appreciate the search for the perfect concoction that not only moisturizes but also maybe does something to soothe the you-look-like-you-might-have-scabies itching.

I ordered the balm through their online store and received the package a few business days later with a handwritten thank you note. Man, do I love a good handwritten thank you note. Goes a long way in my book. These folks are doing it right. The balm has a delightful consistency, and smells like sweet, sweet medicinal herbal goodness. Which is exactly what I want my medicine to smell like, plants. It should smell like plants.

We try to inspire you here with easy recipes to make some useful products on your own, but you know what, I am no herbalist. So when it comes to stuff like this, I am going to look elsewhere and support people who are making really great, all natural, and action-packed products, and you should too! Check out their site and use the coupon code NEWBIE at checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

{so much love in this jar!}

{so much love in this jar!}

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CH, CH, CH, CHIA (& flax seed crackers)

I ended up on an internet downward spiral today, and stumbled upon this recipe for flax and chia seed crackers. They are vegan, gluten free and kosher! However, most importantly they are delicious and chocked full of fiber, iron, omega-3s and protein. So you know, it’s like a superfood gut punch of EPICNESS. I’ll keep this to the point, and the point being that you should probably make these. The raw ingredients can get a bit pricey, but you can get a lot of crackers (and plenty of other things) out of them.

The only other warning I have is that they take THREE HOURS to bake. Which is kind of like that time that I set out to make croissants because I was an idiot and thought, hey, I can bake bread, why not croissants? Why? Because if you decide you want to make croissants you are saying, I want croissants sometime within the next 24-48 hours, I also want to cry over 7 sticks of butter whilst realizing there are 7 sticks of butter in the recipe. But I digress…

There are two tricky things in the following recipe, one is called Za’atar which is a middle eastern condiment comprised of dried herbs, sesame seeds and spices, and it varies depending on the region. Being that I live in Brooklyn, I’m sure that I could have found it fairly easily, but I was lazy, so I decided to make (some version of) it myself. The other possibly tricky thing is the date syrup, which was sadly missing amongst all the wackadoo syrups and sweeteners at hippy grocery store. So I went ahead and made that too. Feel free to wing it with whatever syrupy sweetener you fancy, I’m sure they would be just as delicious with honey or agave, or perhaps coconut syrup (which I didn’t know was a thing until surveying the many aforementioned wackadoo syrups and sweeteners).

Here’s what you’ll need (for the crackers)

  • 1 Cup Flax Seeds
  • 3 tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 3 tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
  • 3 tbsp Sunflower Seeds
  • 1½ tsp Salt (or to taste)
  • 3 tbsp Za’atar*
  • 1 tbsp date syrup**

*For the Za’atar I mortar and pestle-d toasted sesame seeds, dried thyme, dried oregano, cumin, coriander and sea salt. Having never consciously tasted za’atar I am not sure what it is really supposed to taste like, however, the flavor combination was delightful and certainly reminiscent of something I had tasted before.

** For the date syrup I took 15 medjool dates and soaked them in warm water for about 30 minutes. I then drained the water and blended them together with 1¼ cup filtered water and 1½ tsps of lemon juice. My syrup was a bit on the thicker side, but it worked really well with the recipe and I figured I could always thin it out with some water if need be in the future. Side note: date syrup is a REVELATION. Seriously, I think it changed my life a little bit. I’m fixing to put it on/in/around everything I eat from here on out.

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Preheat oven to 200° F and line large baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat
  • Soak flax and chia seeds in water 15-20 minutes (the seeds with absorb most of the water)
  • Add rest of ingredients and mix well
  • Spread evenly on to baking sheet*** and bake for an hour and a half flip over, and bake for ANOTHER hour and a half.  (waaaaiiiyaaaating is the hardest part—Tom Petty on flax and chia seed crackers)
  • Once your three hours of baking is up, turn off the oven, and let cool completely inside
  • Break into free form pieces (or you can score the dough ahead of time if you want more uniformed crackers)

***I sprinkled a little kosher salt on top before baking because I am a salt addict.

So despite these things taking so damn long, they were well worth it, and really a generally easy recipe overall. I’m looking forward to various seeds being scattered about my desk tomorrow morning as I ravenously make my way through these crackers.

Happy crunching!

{golden flax seeds of the gods}

{golden flax seeds of the gods}

{the seeds a soakin'}

{the seeds a soakin’}

{it comes together like a lumpy dough}

{it comes together like a lumpy dough}

{try to spread it as evenly as possible, and somewhat thinly across your baking sheet}

{try to spread it as evenly as possible, and somewhat thinly across your baking sheet}

{so much crunchy, crunchy health}

{so much crunchy, crunchy health}

Adventures in Oral Hygiene

Oh hello friends, we are back! Cristiana and I had a lovely Sunday of catching up and making all sorts of fun things for you folks to take a crack at, so keep an eye out in the next few days for a barrage of blog posts. This first recipe may be one of my favorite things that we have made thus far. Homemade mouthwash! The recipe was essentially lifted straight from here (with a few small adaptations). We love her blog by the way, tons of fantastic recipes!

Admittedly, I don’t have the best oral hygiene regimen (go ahead, JUDGE ME). I don’t floss (ain’t nobody got time for that, although apparently some people find time for that).  I brush twice a day, sure. However, I’ve been plagued by some bad gum recession on a few of my teeth. Dentists have never been outright ALARMED by it, however, they also aren’t super helpful with telling me what to do about it. They just seem to mark it on their little chart and move on with their lives. However, since I value keeping my teeth in my face I am trying to be more proactive about taking steps towards gum health (still probably not going to floss, sorry, I’m not sorry).

A few things that you can do to promote good gum health and healing is by making sure you are chock full of Calcium, and Vitamins A, E, and C as well as folic acid. So you know, eat right or take a multi vitamin (check). Other things include using a soft bristled brush or an electric toothbrush to make sure that you remove all of the plaque without irritating the gum line. And of course, there is flossing (ugh).

Studies have shown that another great treatment for things like bad breath, oral candidiasis, gingivitis, inflamed gums and plaque, is…wait for it….TEA TREE OIL! Betcha thought I would say baking soda, which is of course magical and also in this recipe, and also great for promoting gum growth (making a paste of baking soda and water and massaging it into gums is thought to increase circulation and promote growth).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One cup filtered or bottled water (if using tap, make sure to boil it first)
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 4 drops lemon essential oil
  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4 drops birch essential oil
  • ½ tsp xylitol (optional: to sweeten, you can also use a packet of stevia)
  • A mason jar (because you know, what’s more obnoxiously Brooklyn than your own homemade mouthwash in a mason jar?)

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Mix that business up, shake and enjoy! Make sure you shake it every time you use it to get all of the ingredients properly mixed.

I’ve only been using it for a few days and already my mouth feels cleaner. It’s such a refreshingly minty and wonderful rinse and I am really looking forward to seeing what effects it has on my ailing gums.

That’s all for today folks, stay tuned for more fun things to come, including but not limited to: toilet bowl cleaner! And dry shampoo that doubles as a foundation (what?!)

Happy swishing.

{the fixins'}

{the fixins’}

{add whatever flavors you like best, and feel free to wing it if you want it more pepperminty, or perhaps more lemony}

{add whatever flavors you like best, and feel free to wing it if you want it more pepperminty, or perhaps more lemony}

{somebody get this girl in a mouthwash commercial quick!}

{somebody get this girl in a mouthwash commercial quick!}

{the final product. warn your roommate that it exists so he/she doesn't think you are saving a jar of your own urine.}

{the final product. warn your roommate that it exists so he/she doesn’t think you are saving a jar of your own urine.}

Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica

All of Your Beeswax, now with 100% more food recipes! So Cristiana and I had a very lovely (and long) drive back to NYC from Ohio, and we talked a lot about what we wanted the blog to include. We decided that we should include some recipes every now and again, because really, treating your body right goes beyond what you put on your head and face. What goes into your mouth is equally if not, more, important.

A little background on this recipe: My dear friend Chloe is studying to become an acupuncturist, and anytime I’m home (which is unfortunately not very often), I like to prod her with questions about why my body is weird, and then I let her prod me with needles. It’s a good time. It has been determined that I have a blood deficiency. It’s fairly common in women, and it causes a whole bevy of issues. So we talked about what sorts of things I can start eating to get my blood and body back on track. I’ll spare you all of the FASCINATING science of Chinese medicine (because I could ramble on for days and still probably not do it justice), however, I highly recommend seeing an acupuncturist at some point in your life. They really can tell you a lot about your body, and especially if you are just feeling kind of in a funk, it’s good to reboot your chi every once in a while.

ANYWAY.

For blood deficiencies there are a lot of helpful things you can eat, for example: leafy greens, red meat, whole grains, etc… Chloe also mentioned that really, anything red is good for your blood. As she said in a caveman voice: “Red food good for blood”, wisdom of the ancients. So I set out to make something red. Furthermore, for people with blood deficiencies they should eat things that are warming, so I naturally thought soup. I went to the store and bought some red stuff: red cabbage and beets. I also got some leeks and had a sweet potato and some garlic lying around at home. I thought: how revolutionary! Cabbage, beet and potato soup, what a thing I have invented! Well as it happens, I did not invent this. It’s called borscht (my apologies to mother Russia for thinking that I made this up).

Now, I didn’t look up a recipe because soup is kind of one of those foolproof things that you can just sort of wing. That being said, I am typing this as it is cooking, so we will see how much of an asshole I am in about an hour.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 medium beet (peeled and cut into big chunks)
  • 1 medium sweet potato (peeled and cut into big chunks)
  • ½ of the white part of a bunch of leeks (so precise right?)
  • ½ small head of red cabbage (cut into chunks)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Enough stock or water to cover vegetables (I used organic beef stock)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Oil
  • Crumbled goat cheese for garnish (optional)
  • A stick blender, food processor or blender

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Heat a bit of oil in heavy stock pot (I used a small dutch oven)
  2. Sautee leeks in oil until soft (2-3 minutes)
  3. Add cabbage, garlic, beets, potato
  4. Cover with stock
  5. Bring to boil, cover with lid and simmer until all vegetables are fork tender (about an hour, it’s ok if the beets are a little hard still, they’ll blend).
  6. Blend. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in more stock or water to thin to desired consistency.
  7. Add crumbled goat cheese if you’d like (adds an amazing creamy finish and goat cheese and beets are a match made in heaven)
  8. Eat. Enjoy!

As I sit here and eat the fruits of my labor it is most decidedly not a failure. The sweet potato adds a nice sweetness that balances the acidity of the cabbage and beets. It is a hearty, heart-warming soup that is sure to make your mouth and blood happy. Also, don’t be alarmed if your pee is red. These things happen.

{the fixings}

{the fixings}

{sweat them leeks}

{sweat them leeks}

{I love how beets appear to have a wood grain, so lovely}

{I love how beets appear to have a wood grain, so lovely}

{just look at all those chunks!}

{just look at all those chunks!}

{the finished product, the color is ever so delightful}

{the finished product, the color is ever so delightful}

Pearl Paste; just put it in your mouth

Toothpaste is one of those things that you (hopefully) use everyday, toothpaste is also one of those things that is riddled with things that aren’t great for your body. So below you will find the recipe for a delightful and MINTACULAR toothpaste. We’ve used natural toothpastes before, Toms of Maine makes a great one, and most of our ingredients are the same as theirs. However, that being said, we like ours better (obvs). It leaves your teeth feeling fresher, longer. And you can make the mint to your specifications.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Measure it out, and mix it up (dry first, then wet). Really, it’s that easy. Feel free to add you essential oil a little bit at a time to control how minty your mixture is.
{use disposable mixing utensil, unless your fond of your onions smelling like peppermint}

{use disposable mixing utensil, unless your fond of your onions smelling like peppermint}

{like liquid pearl goo!}

{like liquid pearl goo!}

{yep, pee jar}

{yep, pee jar}

Fancy Tea Time Stick! (aka the most delicious lip balm ever)

{the fixings}

{the fixings}

We came up with a great lip balm recipe that can even be implemented as a diet program! Well, maybe not so much the diet part. But the lip balm smells so much like cake, that perhaps you can substitute this lip balm for eating cake. Maybe? Or you can put this on, and then eat cake for a DOUBLE PUNCH OF AWESOME IN (and around) YOUR MOUTH.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 ounces of wax
  • 6 ounces of coconut oil
  • 2 capsules of vitamin E
  • 1/8 tsp coconut extract
  • 3 drops of lemon essential oil
  • a clean, empty cardboard container or cup (cardboard coffee cup works, we lobbed off the end of a half and half container)
  • empty lip balm tubes (makes about three) or a tin or plastic ramekin or really any empty vessel that you would feel comfortable filling with delicious lip balm

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Fill cardboard container with wax and coconut oil and microwave for 10-15 seconds on high or until it is melted completely.
  2. Add all of your oils and mix.
  3. Pour into tubes, or what have you. And let cool. Bam! What?! That was so easy!
{the mixture cools pretty quick, so try and work fast}

{the mixture cools pretty quick, so try and work fast}

{the square container is handy when it comes to pouring}

{the square container is handy when it comes to pouring}