Just Add Oils to Spring Cleaning

As the weather gets warmer, many people move into spring cleaning mode. Winter clothing gets stored away, windows are opened to air out the house, and lots of deep cleaning takes place as sunshine energizes the soul. A couple weeks ago, we held a contest and gathered many great cleaning recipes from you, our readers. The winner of our contest was Heather Crabill’s Counter and Appliance Spray. Heather says, “I spray my counters and appliances with the solution, and then I wipe with a warm, wet cloth. Friends and family always comment on how lovely the kitchen smells!”

Counter and Appliance Spray

  • Servings: 8 oz.
  • Time: 3 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 8 drops melaleuca essential oil
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 3/4 cup distilled water
  • 8 oz. Glass Spray Bottle

Instructions:

  1. Carefully pour the vinegar and essential oils in the spray bottle. Swirl to combine, and then fill the rest of the bottle with distilled water.
  2. Spray on counters and appliances; wipe with a warm, wet cloth.

A lot of great cleaning ideas and recipes were submitted to us. Here are just a few:


NON-CITRUS PRODUCE SPRAY

“I’m allergic to citrus oils. So for cleaning produce, I put tea tree [melaleuca] oil (8–10 drops) and cider vinegar (1/2 cup) in an 8 oz. spray bottle. Then I fill the bottle with distilled water and spray on produce to clean!” — Brenda Rupp


CLEAN SHOWER SPRAY

15 drops Protective Blend
5 drops lavender
1 tsp. white vinegar
8 oz. water
“Combine everything in an 8 oz. spray bottle. Spray down the shower and squeegee the glass doors when finished. Looks and smells great!” — Barbara Dittrich


TUB AND SINK CLEANER

“In a glass measuring cup, pour 6 oz. of white vinegar. Microwave to a slight boil. Use a funnel to pour the hot vinegar into an 8 oz. spray bottle, and then add 1 Tbsp. of Protective Blend Cleaner Concentrate and 3 drops of lemon essential oil. Shake well, and spray all around tub. Wait 2 minutes or so and rinse off. If you have stubborn stains, scrub with a brush. Also, I put baking soda into the drain first, so that when I’m finished cleaning, the drain also gets cleared out. This treatment is nice and easy to do, and if you do it weekly, all you need to do is spray and rinse.” — Nancy Jaykka


ANY ESSENTIAL OIL CLEANER

“I save all the dribbles left in my essential oil vials and use them in my cleaning spray bottle. I purchased a cheap bottle of vodka, and I add 1 oz. of that to the 8 oz. spray bottle. Then I put in my leftover EOs and top off the spray bottle with filtered water. This solution works great on counter tops and appliances. It will even kill gnats that get into the kitchen.” — Mickie


Here are some other great recipes to help you spring clean:

Click here for more essential oil cleaning tips!

Mint Chocolate Lava Cakes

“I lava you, and you lava me too!”

Nothing says, “I lava you!” more than these mint chocolate lava cakes! Give them a try—you won’t regret it.

Mint Chocolate Lava Cakes

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 10 minutes active; 10 minutes inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. (57 g) butter
  • 8 oz. (227 g) chocolate (semisweet or mixture of semisweet and dark)
  • 2/3 cup (83 g) powdered sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup (40 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. (1.5 g) salt
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
  2. Spray 6 muffin tins (or a silicone mold) with nonstick cooking spray, and place on a cookie sheet.
  3. Microwave chocolate and butter (or use a double boiler) for about 1 minute until butter is melted. Remove from heat, and whisk until the chocolate is also melted.
  4. Stir in sugar until well blended.
  5. Whisk in eggs one at a time.
  6. Stir in flour. Then add essential oil.
  7. Divide mixture between 6 muffin cups.
  8. Bake for 10–12 minutes until sides are firm and center is soft (but not gooey). Let stand 2–3 minutes.
  9. Place the cookie sheet on top of the cakes, and carefully flip both over. Transfer cakes to individual serving dishes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve with fresh fruit or whipped cream.

Coconut Peppermint Patties

If you are a fan of Almond Joys, Mounds, or Bounty bars, you are sure to love these sweet treats! We added peppermint essential oil to this well-loved and healthy recipe, and these taste just like peppermint patties! For an extra special twist, you could even try cinnamon essential oil instead! If your significant other likes healthy treats, this may be the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for him or her.

Coconut Peppermint Patties

  • Servings: 12–15
  • Time: 20 minutes active; 2+ hours inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups (160 g) unsweetened shredded coconut*
  • 1 Tbsp. (12 g) coconut oil
  • 2–3 Tbsp. (30–45 ml) maple syrup*
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. (750 mg) salt
  • 2–4 drops peppermint essential oil (or 1–2 drops cinnamon essential oil)
  • Organic dark chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Place 1 cup (92 g) shredded coconut and 1 Tbsp. (12 g) coconut oil in a food processor; blend on high speed, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture resembles a butter consistency.
  2. Add the maple syrup, coconut milk, vanilla extract, salt, and peppermint essential oil; blend again until combined.
  3. Add 3/4 cup (68 g) shredded coconut, and continue processing until combined.
  4. Press the coconut mixture into a silicone mold. If you don’t have a silicone mold, you can also shape the coconut mixture into 1″ balls, bars, or patties, or press into a small cookie cutter and set on a plate.
  5. Place in the refrigerator until firm (preferably overnight).
  6. Once the coconut mixture has firmed up, melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler. (You can create a double boiler by placing a glass bowl or measuring cup over a pan holding an inch of simmering water.)
  7. When the chocolate is melted, dip each coconut shape into the chocolate. Allow the chocolate to harden by placing the pieces back in the refrigerator for 5–10 minutes.
  8. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

*Note: If you use sweetened shredded coconut, omit the maple syrup and add just a little more coconut milk.

Essential Oil Breath Mints

Making your own breath mints is pretty easy; plus, you get to add the wonderful benefits of essential oils to them! Also, if you are looking for something to give away for Valentine’s Day, these make cute (and practical!) gifts for anyone.

The hardest part of this recipe is getting the mints all cut out. So, if you don’t have kids that can help, try cutting out squares with a sharp knife instead to make the process faster. We used tiny metal “clay cutters” from a craft store that come in a variety of shapes (including a small heart). You can also use a 1″ (2.5 cm) piece of straw for tiny circles.

Some essential oils we used that taste fantastic as breath mints are peppermint, cinnamon, spearmint, and fennel. Other oils that may taste good are ginger, orange, lemon, or lime. If you want to make the mints sour, you can add a little citric acid to the gum paste and dust with citric acid instead of the powdered sugar.

This recipe may seem super unhealthy, but keep in mind that you aren’t eating more than 1 or 2 small pieces at a time. In other words, even though these taste amazing, they are breath mints and are meant to be eaten in very small doses.

Essential Oil Breath Mints

  • Servings: 100–200
  • Time: 1 hour active; 48 hours inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 4 tsp. (20 ml) water
  • 1 tsp. (3 g) unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups (170 g) powdered sugar + more if needed to get the right consistency
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Essential oils such as peppermint, cinnamon, spearmint, fennel, ginger, orange, lemon, or lime
  • Powdered sugar (or citric acid for sour flavors)

Instructions:

  1. Put the water in a double boiler. (You can create a double boiler by placing a glass bowl or measuring cup over a pan holding an inch of simmering water.)
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin powder over the water. Let sit for 5 minutes or until it starts to look foamy.
  3. Stir in the corn syrup, and warm on the stove over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture turns clear.
  4. Stir in 1 1/2 cups (170 g) powdered sugar. Continue adding sugar little by little and kneading with your hands just until it doesn’t stick so much to your fingers.
  5. Once the texture is soft and stretchy, your gum paste is ready.
  6. Divide the mixture into 2–3 equal portions. Knead the first portion with your hands until it becomes soft and pliable. Wrap the other portions in plastic wrap to keep them soft until you are ready to work with them.
  7. Add food coloring if desired (3–4 drops is usually sufficient), and knead until the color is well blended into the dough. (Note: To make sure both the food coloring and the essential oil or blend stay in the dough and don’t drip off, create a well in the top of the piece of dough with your finger, drop the coloring or oil in the well, fold the dough so it closes over the well opening, and then continue to knead the dough as normal.)
  8. Add 3–4 drops of your desired essential oil for a mild flavor or 5–8 drops of essential oil for a stronger flavor. We recommend starting with 3–4 drops, tasting a small piece, and adding more essential oil if needed.
  9. Once the color and flavor are as desired, sprinkle a little powdered sugar on a clean surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out on the powdered sugar to a little more than 1/8″ (3 mm) thick.
  10. Cut out your mints using a straw (for circles), a sharp knife (for small squares), or another small shape. We used a mini clay cutter for our small heart and flower shapes.
  11. As you cut out your mints, dust them with a little powdered sugar so they don’t stick together.
  12. Leave the mints exposed to air until they become hard (about 48 hours); then store them in your desired container.

Extra Ideas:

Here are a few container options:

Sore Muscles Salve

Give your sore muscles some relief with this salve. The essential oils in this recipe may not only help soothe muscle pains, but they also create a warming/cooling effect that makes this salve extra special!

Sore Muscles Salve

  • Servings: Yield=2 oz. (60 ml)
  • Time: 10 minutes active; 1 hour inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. In a double boiler, melt the beeswax and coconut oil over low heat until completely melted; then add sweet almond oil or fractionated coconut oil. Note: You can create a double boiler by placing a heat-proof glass container (containing ingredients) in a pan filled with an inch (2.5 cm) of water.
  2. Allow mixture to cool for about 5 minutes before stirring in the essential oils.
  3. Pour mixture into a glass salve jar or tin container. It should solidify within 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. To use, rub salve on sore muscles as needed.

Healthy No-Bake Cookie Bites with Coconut Oil

If you are one of the many people who make a resolution to eat healthier this new year, then you should give this recipe a try! Even though these cookie bites are so delicious, they are also packed with protein and a variety of nutrients to give you a little burst of energy. Just pop one in your mouth when you need a snack or when you have a craving for something sweet!
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Healthy No-Bake Cookie Bites with Coconut Oil

  • Servings: 20–24
  • Time: 10–15 minutes active; 30 minutes inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups (158 g) oats (quick or rolled)
  • 1/3 cup (54 g) chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup (24 g) cocoa or cacao powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 g) almond butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
  • 1/2 cup (96 g) coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup (139 g) cooked quinoa*
  • 1/2 cup (55 g) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2–5 drops peppermint essential oil (you could also use orange, cinnamon, or cardamom essential oil, but you may want to start with less)

Instructions:

  1. Combine oats, chia seeds, cocoa or cacao powder, and sea salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine almond butter, honey, and coconut oil. Mix well, and then add cooked quinoa. Stir until well combined.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together, and mix well. You may need to use your hands to mix.
  4. Stir in a drop of peppermint essential oil. Taste; then add another drop if needed. Repeat until you like the flavor.
  5. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or in a silicone mold.
  6. Place in the refrigerator until firm.
  7. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

*Note: To cook quinoa, place 1/4 cup (43 g) quinoa and 1/2 cup (120 ml) water in a small pot, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and continue cooking for 5 more minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed all the water. You can also cook the quinoa in a rice cooker as you would cook regular white rice.

Peppermint Candy Soap

Bring the fun of the winter holidays into your home with peppermint soap. The aroma and splash of color will make hand washing seem festive!

pepsoap

Peppermint Candy Soap

  • Time: 20 minutes active; 2 hours inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • Soap molds of holiday shapes (muffin liners in a muffin tin also work)
  • Cooking spray to coat molds
  • Pure solid glycerin soap (this can be found in cubes at craft stores)
  • Peppermint essential oil
  • Chopped peppermint candy

Instructions:

  1. Coat the insides of your soap molds with cooking spray (or use muffin liners).
  2. Melt soap.The size of your molds will determine how much soap you’ll need. Place cubes of soap in a glass measuring cup, and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Add 10 seconds at a time if needed.
  3. Stir several drops of peppermint oil into the melted soap.
  4. Carefully fill your molds almost to the top with the hot soap. Let it cool for about a minute, and then add chopped peppermint candy.
  5. Let cool and harden for at least 2 hours. Once cool, turn the mold upside down, and pop the soap out.

These soaps add holiday flair to your kitchen and bathrooms or make a great gift!

 

Kool-Aid® Lip Balm and Holiday Gift Guide

These colored lip balms are so fun to make for any woman, young or old! The Kool-Aid® not only gives the lip balms a vibrant color, but also a fun taste. You can even add peppermint essential oil to give your lips a cooling sensation with each use! With the recipe provided below, you can make a big batch of the same color/flavor, or you can get creative and make a bunch of different ones!

Kool-Aid® Lip Balm

  • Servings: 4–10
  • Time: 15–30 minutes active; 30 minutes inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Using a kitchen scale, measure out the beeswax and cocoa butter, and place in a double boiler. (Note: you can create a double boiler by placing ingredients in a heat-proof glass dish and placing the dish in a water-filled pan.) Heat over low heat until melted.
  2. Meanwhile, place drink mix in a glass dish, and add just enough hot water to make a paste.
  3. Once the beeswax and cocoa butter are melted, add jojoba oil and honey, and keep warming until everything is melted. Let cool slightly, and stir in essential oil if desired.
  4. Add oil mixture to drink mix, and stir/mash with the back of a spoon until it is thoroughly combined.
  5. Place lip balm in a zip-top bag, and snip off a small hole in a corner with scissors. Squeeze the lip balm into the containers by twisting the bag and squeezing down. Tap the container against a hard surface to help it move to the bottom of the container. Continue until the containers are full.
  6. Place containers in fridge until the lip balm has fully cooled.

Note: If you want to make multiple flavors, just prep your drink mix in separate
bowls, and only use 1/8–1/4 tsp. per dish. Then stir in 1/2–1 Tbsp. (7.5–15 ml) of the oil mixture. This should fill 1 lip gloss container or 2 lip balm dispensers.

This recipe was featured in our new online Gift Guide. Take a look at all the other fun recipes and gift ideas!
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