DIY breathe easy air vapour stick bar – attempt #1

The other day we ran out of our doTerra Easy Air stick which we’ve been using daily on the kids to get them to sleep at night through their congestion.
I had some beeswax on hand and decided to try making it from scratch. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I didn’t have any cocoa butter on hand but instead found a blog post about the basic ratios for beeswax and virgin coconut oil then just ‘winged’ it.
Since the weather is still quite warm, and virgin coconut oil is still liquid at room temperature, I thought I would start with a 1:1 ratio. Last minute, I decided to add a few tablespoons of jojoba and olive oil making this more into a 1:1.5 ratio.
Here’s my first attempt:
1. Add to a small pot equal parts of beeswax and virgin coconut oil. I used in this batch:
35g beeswax
35g virgin coconut oil
2. Heat and melt over low flame. Let it cool for 5min.
3. Stir in liquid oil (any oil can be used here – should be increased to a total of 1/2 cup oil)
1 Tbsp jojoba oil
2Tbsp olive oil
60 drops of easy air or any other combination of pure essential oil
Note: If it starts to solidify too early, just melt over low heat.
4. Stir and immediately pour into ice cube tray or any other moulds.
5. Set in the fridge and then pop out and store in a cool dry place.

6.  Can be stored separately in a small container for easy use. I found the sistema 35ml dressing pots a good size to store one cube.

Makes approx 6 cubes.

Verdict:

It’s now 26.5 degrees Celsius and found that it was still a little too hard for use, and parts of it took a little longer to melt into my skin. The great benefit of making your own is that you and tailor it to your own preference and needs. If you were to use this for massage, it might be nice to have a more solid bar, but for those with sensitive or thin skin, a softer bar (with more liquid oil) would be beneficial.
Next time I will try increasing the amount of oil vs beeswax using a 1:3 or even 1:4 ratio and possibly try it with shea butter and/or cocoa butter. This will mean an increase to 70g of virgin coconut oil.
This is quite fragrant but because it is so solid it takes longer to melt and so only a small amount comes off at once. I’m also thinking of boosting this other single oils next time.
This still turns out to be cheaper than buying the breathe stick plus I can make a tray of cubes at a time and have it stashed around in multiple places instead of hunting around the house for that elusive vapour stick.
Now that I’ve tried it once, it’s inspired me to think of other combinations of oils – I could use it as a lip balm, foot balm, healing salve, eczema salve… this also makes affordable gifts that can be easily be made in bulk (thinking end of year Christmas presents…) and you can play with the packaging and set it in a little lip balm pot or tin, or lip balm stick.
So there’s still some tweaking to do but I hope that this inspires you to give it a go. There are heaps of recipes out there and sometimes it can be paralysing to choose and then collect all the ingredients, so I like the fact that this has minimal ingredients and it still turned out ok. It wasn’t that hard after all and worse comes to worse, you can always melt it down and adjust the proportions (although it would be best to do this before the oil is added so you don’t accidently evaporate the oil off).
Well, good luck DIY-ing and let me know if you find any great recipes for me to try!
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease
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Recipe: quick one pot spaghetti bolognaise

Spaghetti bolognaise is the first dish my mum taught me to make from scratch when I first moved out of home, so it’s one of the few dishes that I can do without a recipe and know how to adjust. Normally it’s on the stove but with the addition of two expensive appliances in my kitchen this year, and with two hungry kids needing some dinner I thought I’d try my hand in some shortcuts “just to see” if it was faster. Normally I would cut the veggies by hand but I’ve found my 3 year old is very good a picking them out of her food, so I thought I would try blending the veggies this time.

Ingredients

2 carrots

2 zucchinis

1 capsicum

1 onion

4 knobs of garlic (I actually didn’t have this but it would have added a LOT more flavour)

2 cans of tomatoes

1 can of tomato paste

2 Tbsp virgin cold pressed coconut oil (or your preferred cooking oil)

500g beef mince

500g penne pasta (or any other type of pasta)

1 Tbsp oregano

1 Tbsp basil

1 Tbsp parsley

1 Tbsp of sugar

Salt

pepper

Materials

Vitamix – or any blender/food processor

Instant pot/pressure cooker

Wooden spatula

Method

  • Wash and cut ends off veggies and pop them straight into the Vitamix
  • Add 2 cans of organic tomatoes, 1 can of organic tomato paste
  • Blend on speed 1 for 10 seconds using the tamper, turn up to speed 3 and pulse to desired consistency. [optional: add a little more water and then turn up to speed 10 for 6 min and use it to heat up the sauce]
  • Salt and pepper the mince
  • Turn on the pressure cooker to the stir fry setting and add the coconut oil before it heats up
  • Stir fry the mince for 5-10min or until mostly browned.
  • Add the blended sauce and stir through
  • Add herbs of your choice – I used oregano, basil and parsley. Note: the quantities are approximate, you can adjust this to taste.
  • Fill the Vitamix jug half way with water (approx 4 cups) and pour it in the used tomato tins swirl then pour it back in the jug. Pour the resulting tomato juice into the pressure cooker pot.
  • Add 500g pasta and stir, ensuring the sauce covers the pasta.
  • Put the lid on the pressure cooker and set to high pressure for 13 min for al dente (for a lower glycaemic index) or 15min for softer pasta.

     

    Serves approx. 8 people

    Total preparation time: 10-15min

    Cooking time: 13min

    Total time from fridge to plate: 25-30min

     

    The verdict

    I stopped the cooker after 13 min and let the steam out and the pasta turned out to be al dente. However, if you prefer a softer pasta, you can try it for 15-20min instead.

    For my first attempt I left out the sugar, so it was a little sour.

    Was it faster? Possibly.

    Was it easier? Definitely.

    Would I do it again? Definitely.

     What are your super quick go to recipes? If you have any great time-saving tips in the kitchen then I’d love to hear about it. Please leave a comment below.

Mango Chia Pod

Mangos always reminds me of summer. We get them in abundance here in sunny Queensland and it’s synonymous with Christmas. 

We buy chia in bulk as it’s one of the main components in my daughters breakfast. I have been trying to eat more nutritionally and was inspired seeing the chia pods back in Aldi. So decided to make my own again. Over Christmas we were given a lot of mangos that we’re quite ripe so it’s a great way to make use of them. 

What a refreshing treat for a hot day! 


Here’s my recipe which is vegan and completely dairy, milk, egg free. 

I’ve also started making my own nut milks with our vitamix so have used my own homemade cashew nut milk. Feel free to substitute with any other milk. For a creamier variation you could also add in a few spoons on yoghurt. 

I use recycled baby food jars that hold appprox 150ml. 

I’ve made 4 here so that I can have enough for snacks throughout the week. 

Mango cashew milk chia pod

Ingredients

2 Tbsp chia seeds

100ml cashew nut milk

4-6 bite sized pieces of freshly cut mango

Method

Add chia seeds to a 150ml jar. Add cashew nut milk and stir until all the seeds are evenly distributed. Add in mango pieces and ensure they are covered. Put on the lids and store in the fridge. 

In a few hours the chia seeds will absorb the liquid and thicken it up to be more like a pudding. If you find it’s not thickening up you may need to add more chia. If you prefer to use a bigger jar add more chia just try to keep the ratios roughly the same. 

This should be fine to consume within 3-4 days. But as always use your common sense and if it smells or if in doubt throw it out. 

Feel free to change up the flavours with different variations such as stewed Apple and cinnamon. Vanilla and cinnamon. 

What are your favourite chia pod flavours? 

Kombucha and Water Keifer

I’ve just started my fermented foods journey and have done my first batch of Kombucha and water keifer.

I was surprised at how simple this was to assemble:

  1. Make sugar water – I simply used old jars, filled them with two tablespoons of raw sugar and then boiling water. For the Kombucha I added two decafe tea bags. 
  2. Then I waited half a day for all of it to cool down. In the meantime I made my own ‘muslin cloths’ by cutting up an old muslin blanket. 
  3. Once it was cool I decanted the existing water keifer/ Kombucha into new jars. You can also strain the keifer grains / kombucha scobie  with a plastic strainer (metal is not recommended) 
  4. Then I simply added in my sugar water mixture. 
  5. I used the muslin cloth doubled over with a rubber band to hold it in place.  

Whilst I was waiting for mine to brew, I decided to try the Kombucha and Water Keifer from my friends batch. I found the Kombucha was too sour. And the water keifer was too sweet. Combined – yes, you guessed it – it was ‘just right’. I added some Buderim Ginger Refresher cordial, soda water, fresh mint leaves and a dash of orange juice. It was a winning combination! Tasted like a mocktail only much better for your gut with all the natural probiotic goodness.

I’m looking forward to experimenting with more combinations.

Have you tried either Kombucha or Water Keifer and what is your favourite way to drink it?

 

Ginger and Mint Water Keifer Kombucha

Ingredients

1/4 cup Water Keifer

1/4 cup Kombucha

1/8 cup soda water

1/8 cup Ginger refresher (to taste)

1/8 cup orange juice (optional)

Mint leaves

Ice cubes

Method

Mix together and drink with a few ice cubes. Amounts can be adjusted to taste.