Homemade Vanilla Extract

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Due to popularity, we brought this idea back from the archives!

Are you looking for an easy gift to give to neighbors and friends this Christmas? Well, this homemade vanilla extract may just be the perfect one! It’s simple to make and very delicious! However, it does take a few months to properly steep, so you might want to start now.

To make this vanilla extract, you only need a few things—vanilla beans, alcohol (such as vodka, rum, or bourbon), glass bottles, and labels. Vanilla beans can be expensive when bought locally; so to make this gift as inexpensive as possible, consider buying the beans in bulk from an online source like Amazon.com. Our 4 oz. Glass Bottles work really well for this project, and our 4 oz. Glass Bottles with Dropper Caps make it really easy to get the exact amount of vanilla you need when cooking.

The best thing about homemade vanilla is that if you leave the beans in the bottle, it just keeps getting better the longer you let it sit. When gifting this, make sure to leave 1–2 vanilla beans in every 4 oz. bottle so it not only looks authentic, but also so your friends can enjoy a richer vanilla flavor over time.

It takes about 12 weeks for the vanilla beans to infuse their flavor in the alcohol, so this is a great gift to make in advance. If you don’t have enough time to let it sit for 12 weeks, just include a date on a gift tag for when it can be used.

These cute vanilla vinyl labels really add to the charm of this gift!

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

  • Servings: Yield = Thirty-five 4 oz. bottles
  • Time: 15 minutes active; 3 months inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • Two 1.75 liter bottles of vodka or white rum
  • 60 vanilla beans (about 1/2 lb.)
  • 4 oz. glass bottles (approximately 35 bottles)

Instructions:

  1. Cut off the ends of the vanilla beans, and cut each bean lengthwise. Divide them evenly among 4–5 one-quart glass mason jars.
  2. Pour the vodka or rum into the mason jars, covering the vanilla beans, and close tightly. Shake vigorously.
  3. Place in a cool, dark place, and shake the bottles about once a week for a few months (about 12 weeks).
  4. When ready to gift, carefully fill each glass bottle with vanilla extract and secure the lids tightly. Include 1–2 vanilla beans in each bottle (you’ll need to cut each bean in half to fit).
  5. Add a label to the bottle, and include any instructions and the kind of vanilla. If it still needs to sit longer, include a date for when it can be used.

Extra Ideas:

  • If you have beans left over, squeeze out the bean paste, and save it in an airtight container to use in ice creams, sauces, whipped cream, etc. You can also allow the pods to dry out, then grind them into powder using a coffee or spice grinder and mix with sugar or sprinkle on anything you want to add vanilla flavor to.
  • To spice up the gift, you can include your favorite recipe that uses vanilla extract and another ingredient in the recipe such as chocolate chips.
  • Use these cute vanilla vinyl labels to really add to the charm of this gift!

Source: http://www.ourbestbites.com/2014/09/christmas-in-october-homemade-vanilla/

See Modern Essentials: Sports Injuries

sportsBeing active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. The positive endorphins released during exercise will lift depression, boost energy, and strengthen cardiac function. Increasing muscle mass and strength also helps the body burn fat and build endurance. It’s important to keep those muscles and connective tissues that make movement possible healthy.

Overuse of a muscle in repeated motion, tension, stress, strain, and injury can cause discomfort and pain during muscle movement. When an injury takes place as a result of exercise or sports, there are several essential oils that can be useful in the healing process. Here are some oils you can try the next time you experience a sports-related injury.

Aches and Pains

  • Birch
  • Clove
  • Peppermint
  • Chamomile
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
Bruises

  • Helichrysum
  • Geranium
  • Fennel
  • Lavender
Cartilage Injury

  • Birch
  • Wintergreen
  • Marjoram
  • Lemongrass
  • White fir
  • Peppermint
Cramps and
Charley Horses

  • Lemongrass
    with peppermint
  • Marjoram
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Vetiver
  • Roman chamomile
  • Cypress
  • Grapefruit
  • Clary sage
  • Lavender
Sprains

  • Marjoram
  • Lemongrass
  • White fir
  • Helichrysum
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Vetiver
  • Eucalyptus
  • Clove
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
Tendinitis

  • Marjoram
  • Lavender

Tension and Stiffness

  • Marjoram
  • Peppermint
  • Helichrysum
  • Juniper berry
  • Lavender
  • Roman chamomile

Some injuries can be avoided by stretching before exercise and getting plenty of hydration during and after working out or playing sports. But sometimes injuries happen no matter how careful we are. Essential oils applied with a roller bottle, mixed in a balm, or blended for massage can help accelerate the healing process.

Sources:
Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 7th Edition, pp. 274, 336–39.

Foaming Face Wash

Are you looking for a good face wash for troublesome skin? The essential oils used in this face wash were picked to help with acne-prone skin, but the face wash can be used on any skin type.

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Foaming Face Wash

  • Servings: Yield=About 3 Tbsp. (50 ml)
  • Time: 2 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) Castile Soap
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) witch hazel
  • 1/4 tsp. (1.5 ml) Sweet Almond Oil
  • 10 drops melaleuca essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops juniper berry or lemongrass essential oil (optional)
  • 1–2 Tbsp. (15–30 ml) distilled water
  • 50 ml Foamer Bottle

Instructions:

  1. Place castile soap, witch hazel, sweet almond oil, and essential oils in a small foamer bottle. Screw the lid on, and shake to combine.
  2. Unscrew the lid, and fill the rest of the bottle up with distilled water. Make sure to leave room at the top for the foamer top. Screw the lid on, and shake again.
  3. To use, pump 1–2 times into the palm of your hand, and wash face as normal.

Margherita Garlic Bread with Basil Essential Oil

Want to add a little class to your dinner tonight? Try this Margherita Garlic Bread. This simple dish is packed with flavor! Add a salad, and you have an easy and satisfying dinner.

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Margherita Garlic Bread with Basil Essential Oil

  • Servings: 10–15
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf artisan or french bread, cut into 1″ (2.5 cm) slices
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tsp. (3 g) garlic powder
  • 5–8 drops basil essential oil
  • Tomato slices
  • Mozzarella cheese slices
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Melt the butter; add the garlic powder and basil essential oil.
  2. Brush butter mixture onto the bread slices with a pastry brush until saturated, or spoon butter on to lightly cover each slice of bread.
  3. Add sliced tomatoes and cheese to each slice of bread.
  4. Broil for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges of bread are golden brown.
  5. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, and serve immediately.


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Mini Lasagnas

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This delicious and light recipe comes in a great portion size for a healthy luncheon!

Mini Lasagnas

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 30 minutes active; 10–15 minutes inactive
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. (340 g) ground turkey breast
  • 1 cup (150 g) chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup (38 g) chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tsp. (6 g) salt
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 g) pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (15 oz./425 g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. (3 g) chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp. (2 g) chopped fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 cups (372 g) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 drop oregano essential oil
  • 1 drop basil essential oil
  • 24 small square wonton wrappers
  • 1 1/2 cups (170 g) shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. (190° C.).
  2. Over medium heat, cook the ground turkey, onions, mushrooms, salt, and pepper until the turkey is browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1–2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes and half the chopped oregano. Simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta with the remaining chopped oregano and the basil. Drop in the essential oils. Stir to mix well.
  5. Coat a standard-sized muffin tin with olive oil. Firmly press 1 wonton wrapper into each of the 12 cups.
  6. Divide half of the ricotta mixture among the 12 muffin cups.
  7. Using half of the turkey-tomato sauce, spoon it evenly over each of the ricotta-filled cups, and sprinkle each with mozzarella.
  8. Lay another wonton wrapper on top of the mozzarella layer. Repeat the layering process with the second half of the ricotta mixture and sauce, finishing with mozzarella cheese on top.
  9. Bake 10–12 minutes, until the wonton edges are crispy and the cheese has melted.
  10. Let the cups cool a bit before removing from the pan.

Serve with a fresh tossed green salad and some homemade vinaigrette!

Build Your Business with “Modern Essentials™ Living”

Have you heard about the Modern Essentials™ Living book? This amazing resource contains cooking recipes, craft ideas, cleaning recipes, body care recipes, class ideas, diffuser blends, and a chart listing common uses for many essential oils and blends. It introduces essential oils in a way that is completely marketing compliant, so it is a safe resource to use in any setting! We want to discuss a few ways you can use Modern Essentials™ Living to help build your business.

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Use Modern Essentials™ Living in Your Classes

Modern Essentials™ Living is a perfect resource to use in any marketing or educational class. Here are a few ideas for how to use this book in a class setting:

  • Use one of the class ideas suggested in Modern Essentials™ Living on pp. 189–202. As you apply a facial mask, make jewelry, drink hot chocolate, make cleaning sprays, or make wintertime shower disks, you can talk about the essential oils and even discuss how to make money by being a distributor.
  • You don’t have to stick to our class ideas—you can come up with your own! Try teaching an essential oil cooking class by making one of the food recipes in Modern Essentials™ Living. As you cook, discuss the tips and tricks found on pp. 9–17 for using essential oils in your cooking.
  • DIY classes (also known as make-and-take classes) are very popular because they tend to be more interactive and let your attendees leave with something to try that contains essential oils. Try holding a make-and-take class of your own, and use the craft, body care, cleaning, or holiday ideas in Modern Essentials™ Living as your DIY project. Don’t forget to introduce the essential oils and let your attendees know where they can purchase them.
  • Have a few copies of Modern Essentials™ Living on hand to pass around your classes. This is a great way to show “newbies” all the different ways you can use essential oils other than the standard application methods. You may even have some people ask to buy one of your copies!
  • The Modern Essentials™ Living book can be used as a drawing prize. You can have your class attendees enter a drawing as they arrive (you may even want to offer this as an incentive to arrive early). Whenever you choose to close the drawing, select a winner and give him or her a copy of Modern Essentials™ Living!

Using Modern Essentials™ Living at Trade Shows

Running an essential oil booth at a trade show is the perfect example of marketing essential oils. But you need a way to get people interested in the essential oils without making health claims. This is where Modern Essentials™ Living can be beneficial! Here are a few ways you can use this book at a trade show:

  • Have several copies available for people to browse through. This can help them get an idea of how the oils can be used without you needing to explain it to them.
  • Make some of the products for people to try as they come to your booth. This can give them a way to experience essential oils aromatically and topically. If the venue allows it, you may even be able to offer essential oil food samples.
  • You may want to consider offering a class at another time and have interested people sign up for your classes while at the trade show. It is often difficult to relay all the information you would like to while having short conversations with passersby, so a class is a way you can educate interested parties a little more thoroughly. If you want to hold a make-and-take class, be sure to have the finished product available at the trade show to provide an example of what will be made in the class.

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Use Modern Essentials™ Living to Build and Educate Your Team

One of the best ways to build an essential oil business is to educate your team members about the many ways essential oils can be used. Here are a few ideas of you can do this with Modern Essentials™ Living:

  • Send out an email every once in a while that contains a tip/trick about essential oils. Modern Essentials™ Living contains many bits of useful information including application methods, cooking tips, recipes, class ideas, diffuser blends, and even information about what each oil can do (found in the Quick Usage Chart). If you share information from the book, just make sure to reference it as your source and let your team members know where they can get a copy for themselves!
  • Keep a copy of the book in a waiting area at your office or home. Make sure it is visible and easy to pick up and browse through.
  • Another way Modern Essentials™ Living can be used is to offer it to clients who sign up under you or for rank advancements of your team members.

Modern Essentials Living
As you can see, there are many ways Modern Essentials™ Living can help you succeed in your essential oil business. Check out this article to learn more about this amazing resource and see sample pages: Introducing Modern Essentials™ Living.

Do you have any other ideas of how you can use this book to build your business? Comment below! We would love to hear them!

Essential Oil Spotlight: Fennel

fennelFennel essential oil is steam-distilled from the seeds of the Foeniculum vulgare plant in the parsley family.

The ancient Egyptians and Romans awarded garlands of fennel to victorious warriors because the plant was believed to give courage, strength, and longevity. It has been used for thousands of years to treat snake bites, hunger, earaches, reproductive problems, lung infections, and worms.

The French use fennel to treat cystitis, sluggish digestion, and gout, to increase lactation, and for menopause problems.

It is commonly used for blood clots, bruises, kidney stones, and skin revitalization. Fennel may also be used for colic and indigestion, to stimulate the cardiovascular system, and for nausea, obesity, and hormone issues.

Fennel can be diffused or inhaled and can also be dropped under the tongue or used in cooking.

To learn more about fennel essential oil, see the book Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils.

Source: Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 7th Edition, pp. 113–14.

Class Idea: “Intro to Modern Essentials™” Scavenger Hunt

One of the tough things about giving someone a sample of an essential oil is that often that person doesn’t know what to do with it (other than whatever you tell them to). When you share essential oils with a “newbie,” it is important to also give them something containing more information about essential oils. The “Introduction to Modern Essentials™” booklet is the perfect companion to essential oil samples!

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What Is Great about This Booklet?

This little booklet is packed with a lot of great information! The first section introduces essential oils and teaches what they are and how they can be used to help enhance health and wellness. The next section lists the 42 most common essential oils and some of the ways each one is used. In the last section, the Personal Guide, readers can discover which essential oils, essential oil blends, and essential oil–inspired supplements are commonly used for hundreds of different health conditions. Not only does this booklet give your “newbie” enough information to start using the essential oils, but there is also a place on the back to include your contact information so they know how to contact you if they wish to purchase more oils.

Introduction to Essential Oils Class Idea

The goal of this class is to help your attendees learn about essential oils and show them how to find answers to their essential oil questions.

Start the class with a short lesson introducing and explaining the essential oils. You can use the Introduction to Essential Oils section found in the “Introduction to Modern Essentials™” booklet. Another great resource and handout is the “Modern Essentials™: An Introduction to Essential Oils” Tear Pad. You can also use the Science and Application section found in Modern Essentials™ (the large book) for even more information. We recommend reading this section, if possible, so you are better able to answer any questions your students may have.

Conduct a scavenger hunt activity. Pass out an “Introduction to Modern Essentials™” booklet to everyone in the class. (We recommend letting them take their booklet home with them as a free gift. Make sure to include your contact information on the back!)

Here’s how to do the scavenger hunt activity:

  • You (the teacher) ask a question from this list.
  • Everyone (all class attendees) tries to find the answer in their booklet.
  • The first person to find the answer raises their hand and waits to be called on to state the answer and where they found it.
  • Give a little time so everyone can also find the answer by going to that page. During this time, you can pass the winner a small treat (this is optional but fun!).
  • Repeat with a new question.

AT_IntroMEScavengerHunt Doing a scavenger hunt activity can not only help bring some fun to your class and make it memorable, but it also gives your students a reason to look through the “Introduction to Modern Essentials™” booklet. As they look through it and find the answers to the questions, they will learn so much about the essential oils and what essential oils can do for specific conditions. It also helps them learn how they can use the booklet to find answers to their own questions. Doing this activity will increase the likelihood of your attendees trying the essentials oils and even purchasing more.

Open the class up for questions. Be sure to leave time to answer questions your attendees have. Try to keep the questions in this class focused more on the essential oils and their benefits. Refrain from marketing a particular brand of essential oils, but rather refer them to another class (even if you hold your marketing class after a 10-minute break) to learn more about where they can purchase essential oils. Remember: Your goal with this class is to help your attendees learn more about the essential oils and how to find information about which oil(s) to use for their health challenges.

This class idea was suggested to us by Jenny Keller. Do you have a class idea you would like to share with others? If so, fill out this survey or comment below. We would love to hear from you!

Refreshing Diffuser Blend

When you are finished cleaning your home, diffuse this blend for a refreshing scent that will increase your great feeling of accomplishment! Need a diffuser? Check out the variety of diffusers at AromaTools™.
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Raw Lemon Berry Cheesecake (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

If you are looking for a relatively healthy dessert, then you should try this recipe! It is vegan and gluten-free, but it still tastes quite good. Of course, it doesn’t taste like a normal cheesecake, but even our pickiest tasters asked for more. There is something so satisfying about the lemon, coconut, nutty, and berry flavor combination tasted in every bite.

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Raw Lemon Berry Cheesecake

  • Servings: 9–12
  • Time: 30 minutes active; 8–10 hours inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (150 g) almonds
  • 1 cup medjool dates (about 10 dates) (pre-soaked if needed)
  • 1/2 cup (47 g) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 Tbsp./30 ml)
  • 3 drops lemon essential oil

Cheesecake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (274 g) cashews
  • 1/4 cup (48 g) coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) agave nectar, maple syrup, or honey
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 g) sea salt

Berry Topping Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (~110–15 g) frozen or fresh berries
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) agave nectar, maple syrup, or honey
  • 1/4 cup (48 g) coconut oil, melted
  • 1 drop lemon essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Pre-soak the cashews (and dates if needed) for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Rub an 8″ x 8″ (20 x 20 cm) glass baking dish with coconut oil.
  3. Place all crust ingredients in a food processor or blender, and pulse until the mixture looks and feels like dough. Dump it into your baking dish, and press it down evenly to cover the bottom of the dish. Once done, place the pan in the fridge while you make the other layers.
  4. Repeat with the cheesecake ingredients—blend, and then layer on top of crust.
  5. If using frozen berries, place all berry topping ingredients in a pan on the stove top, and heat just until the berries have thawed a little and coconut oil is melted.
  6. Place berry topping ingredients in the food processor, and pulse until mixed. Pour on top of the cheesecake layer.
  7. Place in the fridge or freezer until set up (about 4 hours in the freezer or 6 hours in the fridge).
  8. Top with fresh berries before serving, if desired.

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Tasty Chicken Foil Dinner

foilgrill

Try this delicious chicken recipe at home or on your Labor Day campout! If you need to serve more than 4 people, simply adjust the recipe as needed.

Tasty Chicken Foil Dinner

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes active; 40 minutes inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • Heavy-duty foil
  • 2 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 2 drops lemon essential oil
  • 4 Tbsp. (56 g) butter, softened
  • 4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen)
  • 4 cups (450 g) diced potatoes
  • 1 cup (160 g) chopped onion
  • Minced rosemary to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cut out or tear off 4 plate-sized squares of heavy-duty foil.
  2. Mix together the butter and essential oils. Set aside.
  3. In each square, place a frozen chicken breast, 1 cup diced potatoes, and 1/4 cup chopped onion.
  4. Sprinkle each serving with salt, pepper, and minced rosemary; top with a pat of rosemary-lemon butter.
  5. Seal foil, and place on the coals of a campfire or on a grill. Cook for 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Squeeze some lemon juice on top, and eat straight from the foil if you’re camping!

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