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Monthly Archives: February 2013

7 Natural Remedies to Fight the Flu and Seasonal Colds

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This year I have seen my share of germs and viruses attack our house, the majority of which are courtesy of my 5-year-old and her adventures at school.  So with all these colds and flu viruses flying around all over the place, I have gathered quite a list of great home remedies that help pull my family through the sick patches. Here are some of the best that I have found, and I want to share them with you!

Homemade Cough Syrup

Take a red onion; cut into quarter inch slices and restack with a dollop of raw local honey  in between each layer.  (The local honey will also help prevent allergies in springtime.) Allow to sit overnight.  In the morning you will have a syrup that not only helps get rid of the tickle in your throat but also helps you rest easy about not adding chemicals and medications into your system that you don’t need.

Garlic Tea

Cloves of garlic have been used for YEARS to help alleviate cold and flu systems. Garlic is naturally antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial. Simply cut 2-3 cloves of garlic, place into boiling water, and allow to steep for 10 minutes. For added taste use lemon juice, raw honey or ginger.  Ginger is also a great way to naturally help soothe tummy aches and digestive issues.

Onion Juice Earache Relief

One of the most effective remedies I have found for an earache is onions.  Take an onion and bake for about 15 minutes at 425° F (be sure to leave the skin on the onion, as it helps keep the juices inside while cooking.)  Let the onion sit until cool enough to touch then crush it in a bowl to extract the juice.  Using an eyedropper, place the warm juice in the ear.  This will usually help relieve the pain within a few minutes.

Warm Salt Water

Add a generous amount of salt to lukewarm water and mix well.  Gargle with the lukewarm salt-water mixture to help soothe your sore throat and promote healing.

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Hot Washcloths/Ice Packs

If you have sinus congestion, a great solution is to apply either hot or cold around the congested sinuses.  Take a damp washcloth and heat it for about 50 seconds in the microwave (be sure to test it first too make sure it is not to hot).  For a cold pack, you can use frozen vegetables/fruits or place a damp washcloth in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes.  Chose hot or cold, whichever feels more comfortable.

Water, Water, Water

Drink it, steam it, and soak in it! Keeping the fluids in is the best way to flush out toxins when you are sick. A comfortable way to help clean out your head is to run a hot shower, since the steam will help moisten the air around you, especially good for dry coughs. Lastly, when you are feeling body aches or muscle pain from the flu, try a nice hot bath to soothe aches and pains. Try throwing in some oils like tea tree or eucalyptus, to help speed up the healing process.

SLEEP!

Sometimes the thing that best helps beat the flu is time and rest. Allow your body time to rejuvenate and bring itself back to its usual healthy, energetic state.

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Stay healthy this germy season!

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, just a mom, so be sure to check with your healthcare provider before using any of these remedies.

Chocolate, Strawberries, OH MY!

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With Valentine’s Day just a few short days away, and the thoughts of strawberries and chocolate dancing in our heads, I was reminded of this delicious dessert, a twist on the traditional Neopolitan ice cream, that I made last year for my husband and I immediately had to share. Try it out with your significant other and leave a comment on how it turned out for you!

Strawberry Chocolate Decadence

Ingredients:


Organic butter (for greasing pans)

2 cups diced organic strawberries


1 box vanilla cake mix, batter prepared according to package directions


1 box chocolate cake mix, batter prepared according to package directions

1 8 oz package cream cheese

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (1 cup for a slightly less sweet flavor)

1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract (recipe and ingredients below)

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided


12 medium organic strawberries, sliced, for garnish

Preparation
:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease two large-sized muffin pans with butter and set aside.
 Place diced strawberries in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until berries starts to bubble, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely. Prepare vanilla cake according to package directions. Pour batter into one of the muffin pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Prepare chocolate cake according to package directions.

Pour batter into the remaining muffin pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Meanwhile, place thickened strawberries in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add cream cheese and butter, mixing until smooth and creamy.

Place the slightly larger layers (these will be the cake bottoms) on a sheet of wax paper. Spread strawberry mixture thickly over the bottoms. Cover with remaining layers of cake. Each cake will have both a chocolate and a vanilla layer. Place 1/3 cup of the chocolate chips in a small bowl and set aside for garnishing. Place remaining chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high at 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until chocolate has melted and is very smooth.

Pour over tops of cakes, letting drip down the sides. Let set for 20 minutes at cool room temperature if serving right away. Or, refrigerate until ready to serve. Cakes can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
 Garnish tops of cakes with slices of strawberries and reserved chocolate chips before serving.
 Makes 12 single-serving cakes.

Strawberry Extract

Ingredients:

1 lb. strawberries

1 cup water

½ cup sugar

cheesecloth

Preparation:

Pick off stems and slice strawberries.

Place the strawberry slices in a saucepan with 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar. Cover the pan and turn on medium heat to bring to a simmer.

Cook the strawberries for about 30 minutes or until the slices start to become very soft.

Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place it into a plastic container to catch the liquid. Pour the liquid through the strainer to separate the liquid from the solids. Squeeze excess juices from the cheesecloth into the plastic container.

Pour the liquid back into the saucepan and turn it on medium heat. Leave the saucepan uncovered. Cook the liquid until it is reduced to 1/4 cup. Reducing the liquid evaporates the water in it and concentrates the flavors.

Organic Romantic

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I was looking for some new ideas for Valentine’s Day when I found this great article on how to be an “Organic Romantic”. From organic chocolates to locally, sustainably grown flowers- the options are endless for a more eco-friendly V-Day! Check out the article HERE.

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