Homemade Vanilla Extract

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!

AT_Vanilla

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/

Spinach-Basil Pesto with Chicken and Pasta

Here’s a recipe for our pasta-loving friends! But, even if you don’t like pasta, don’t let that stop you from trying this delicious spinach-basil pesto! This pesto is also great with chicken, tilapia, quinoa, or bread and in any other basil pesto dish.

AT_BasilPestoChickenPasta

Spinach-Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta

  • Servings: 4–6
  • Time: 20 minutes active
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 8–12 oz. pasta of choice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups spinach leaves, tough stems removed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (almonds or walnuts can be used instead if needed)
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 drops lemon essential oil
  • 1 drop basil essential oil
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2–3 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced or cubed

Instructions:

  1. Boil water in a pot, and cook pasta according to the directions on the package.
  2. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Pack the spinach in the bottom of your blender. Press the spinach down as much as possible. Add pine nuts, sautéed garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and essential oils on top of the spinach in the blender.
  4. Blend the ingredients together by using the pulse setting on the blender and pausing to scrape the sides as needed.
  5. Add Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper, and blend in. Note: If you wish to freeze any of this pesto, you will want to freeze it before adding the Parmesan cheese.
  6. Combine or layer pasta, chicken, and spinach-basil pesto, and enjoy!

Extra Idea:

For additional flavor, marinate the chicken for 30–60 minutes before cooking in 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 2 drops basil essential oil, 3 drops lemon essential oil, and a small handful of fresh basil leaves cut up.

Chicken Coconut Curry and Coconut Rice with Essential Oils

Even if you aren’t a huge fan of Asian food, you will love this curry and coconut rice! This curry features a mild coconut curry sauce with chicken and lots of vegetables and tastes amazing on a bed of coconut cardamom rice. The curry is pretty mild, so if you like more spice, just add more curry powder and Garam Masala. We hope you enjoy the delightful flavors the essential oils add to this dish!

Coconut Curry

Chicken Coconut Curry with Essential Oils

  • Servings: 6–8
  • Time: 30 minutes active; 2–3 hours inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbsp. curry powder, divided
  • 2 cans coconut milk (minus 1 cup for rice)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz.)
  • 1 Tbsp Garam Masala
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4–5 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large sweet pepper, diced or sliced into strips
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut in small chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 small heads of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 drop ginger essential oil
  • 1 drop lemongrass essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and 1 Tbsp. curry powder. Stir occasionally, and cook for 10 minutes or until the sweet potato is half cooked.
  2. While the sweet potato is cooking, make the sauce. In a small bowl, mix together coconut milk, chicken broth, tomato paste, Garam Masala, 1 Tbsp. curry powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add the carrots and onion, and continue to sauté until the onion is translucent.
  4. Add garlic and sweet pepper, and continue to sauté for 1–2 minutes.
  5. Transfer vegetable mixture to the slow cooker. Add chicken, celery, broccoli, and prepared sauce. Stir to combine.
  6. Cook on low for 2–3 hours.
  7. Once chicken is cooked through and vegetables are soft, stir in essential oils and serve over rice.

Note: If sauce is too runny, mix together 6 Tbsp. water and 4 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder in a small bowl, and then stir into curry.

Coconut Cardamom Rice

  • Servings: 4–6
  • Time: 5 minutes active; 10 minutes inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Thai jasmine-scented white rice (note: other types of rice will not work)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. dry shredded coconut
  • 1 drop cardamom essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a rice cooker. Stir well to break up clumps. Cover, and set to cook.
  2. Once the rice cooker switches to “warm” mode, allow to sit for 8–10 minutes to allow rice to finish steaming. This makes the rice fully cooked and pleasantly sticky.
  3. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.

Southwestern Egg Rolls

Add a little Southwestern flavor to your next event, meeting, dinner party, or social gathering by serving these delicious Southwestern Egg Rolls with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce.

Egg-Roll-2

Southwestern Egg Rolls

  • Servings: Yield=18 egg rolls
  • Time: 30 minutes active; 15 minutes inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef, browned
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked corn
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 drop black pepper essential oil
  • 18 egg roll wrappers

Instructions:

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine cooked ground beef with rice, beans, and corn. Stir in chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper essential oil.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degree Fahrenheit.
  3. Place a small amount of the rice and bean mixture diagonally on the center of an egg roll wrapper. Dip your finger in water, and then run your finger over the bottom corner of the wrapper. Fold over the top corner of the wrapper to cover the mixture; then fold over the sides and roll tightly (the water on the bottom corner should help the wrapper to seal shut). Repeat until you have filled all of the egg rolls. Hint: Make sure to roll your egg rolls tightly and neatly so that the mixture doesn’t fall out when you are cooking them or eating them.
  4. Place the egg rolls on a greased baking sheet, and lightly brush them with olive oil.
  5. Bake the egg rolls for 10–15 minutes (turning over once halfway through), or until lightly browned.
  6. Serve egg rolls with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce.

 

dipping-sauce

Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce

  • Servings: 9
  • Time: 10 minutes active
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 half red onion
  • 3 tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 avocado, peel and pit removed
  • 1 tsp. garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 drop lime essential oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender of food processor, and pulse until smooth.
  2. Serve with Southwestern Egg Rolls.

 

 

Grasshopper Pie with Peppermint Essential Oil

Indulge your sweet tooth with this delicious grasshopper pie that incorporates the benefits of pure, therapeutic-grade peppermint essential oil.

Grasshopper-Pie-2

Grasshopper Pie with Peppermint Essential Oil

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 25 minutes active; 2 hours inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 24 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups whipped topping
  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Combine crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (you can crush the cookies in a food processor or by hand in zip-lock bag) and melted butter in a medium-sized bowl. Stir until well incorporated.
  2. Press cookie mixture into the bottom and sides of a pie pan to form a crust. Chill crust in the refrigerator for one hour.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Beat with an electric mixer for 5 minutes, ensuring that the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Stir in whipped topping and peppermint essential oil.
  5. Let pie chill for 1 hour before serving.
  6. Enjoy!

 

Honey Essential Oil Ham Glaze

This Easter, make your ham stand out above the rest with this delicious Honey Essential Oil Ham Glaze. And while your relatives are enjoying your dinner masterpiece, you will easily be able to share the recipe with them––and your love for essential oils!

Easter-Ham

Honey Essential Oil Ham Glaze

  • Servings: 1 cup
  • Time: 5 minutes active; 20 minutes inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 drop clove essential oil
  • 1 drop orange essential oil
  • 1 toothpick cassia essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl, and stir until well incorporated.
  2. Drizzle the glaze over your ham 20 minutes before it is done cooking. Return your ham to the oven, and cook uncovered for the remaining 20 minutes.
  3. If you desire, you can reserve some of the glaze to drizzle over your ham when serving.

Frozen Yogurt Bites

Snack-time can be an important part of the day whether you are a kid or not. It’s a time of replenishing energy and can also be a fun way to take a break. These frozen yogurt bites make a refreshing snack, not only because they are yummy, colorful, cold, and bite-sized, but also because they are healthy! Kids will love them, and you may be tempted to eat a number of them yourself! This snack has been both kid-approved and adult-approved.

FroYoBites2

Frozen Yogurt Bites

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Time: 10 minutes active; 2 hours inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup fruit of choice
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 drop citrus essential oil (lemon, orange, lime, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 1 Tbsp.)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare a cookie sheet by placing parchment paper on the sheet (if the paper tends to roll, add small weights to the corners).
  2. Place fruit in a food processor, and blend to desired consistency.
  3. Mix fruit, yogurt, and essential oil together in a small bowl.
  4. Place orange juice in a saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over the liquid. Let sit for a minute. Place saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes or until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Immediately whisk the orange juice into the fruit and yogurt mix.
  5. Pour the yogurt mix into a plastic bag. Cut a small piece off a corner of the bag, and pipe the yogurt onto the prepared cookie sheet in bite-sized increments.
  6. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for a couple hours. Once frozen, quickly peel the yogurt bites off the cookie sheet and place them in a plastic freezer bag. Keep the yogurt bites frozen until you are ready to serve them, as they will start to melt after 10 minutes.

Note: The orange juice gelatin mixture is optional, but adding the gelatin helps the yogurt bites keep their shape longer. If you are giving these to younger children, adding this small amount of gelatin is especially helpful because younger children take longer to eat the yogurt bites before they thaw.

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap with Essential Oils

This homemade foaming hand soap is not only all-natural, but you can also customize it to your needs. To customize, all you need to do is change the essential oil you use in the recipe. You can add a holiday scent during the holiday season or a citrus scent for the summertime. Essential oils with antibacterial properties can make this soap great for cold and flu season. Or, simply choose your favorite essential oil or blend so you can smell it every time you wash your hands!

FoamingSoap

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap with Essential Oils

  • Servings: 8 oz.
  • Time: 2 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Simply mix the Liquid Castile Soap and essential oil in the Foamer Bottle; then fill the remainder of the bottle with water (only fill to about an inch and a half from the top to save room for the foamer pump), and screw the lid on. Feel free to wash your hands immediately and enjoy your homemade foaming soap!

Extra Ideas

  1. Turn this into a face wash by only using 1/4 cup Liquid Castile Soap, adding 5 drops melaleuca essential oil, and filling the rest up with water.
  2. Add some decorations such as ribbons or snowflakes, like this example, to make a fun gift.

Healing Soup with Cilantro and Ginger

As autumn approaches, the weather is getting colder. A good way to warm up during the cold months is with a bowl of hot soup. This healing soup is a delicious way to incorporate the benefits of essential oils with the benefits of a warm meal!

This recipe was taken from Micki Sannar’s cookbook, Aroma & Olive Oil. Check out her cookbook for many other great ideas on cooking with essential oils!

Healing Soup with Cilantro and Ginger

  • Servings: 4–6
  • Time: 45 minutes active; 2–4 hours inactive
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 small bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½– 2 lb. chicken breast, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2–3 drops ginger essential oil
  • 1 drop coriander essential oil
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
  • 2 boiled eggs, peeled and diced

Instructions:

  1. Rinse chicken and partially freeze (2–4 hours). Remove from freezer, and slice thinly.
  2. Marinade sliced chicken in salt, pepper, and cornstarch. Let rest for 10–15 minutes.
  3. Using a small cup, combine ½ teaspoon of olive oil with essential oils and sesame oil, and set aside.
  4. In a large pot, bring chicken broth and water to a boil. Turn heat to low, and add chicken. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. While simmering, add cilantro, and cook for another 1–2 minutes.
  6. Stir blended oils into the soup, and garnish with cilantro leaves and diced eggs

Source: This recipe is found in Micki Sannar’s cookbook, Aroma & Olive Oil. Used with permission.

What Can You Do with Dry Bamboo Wipes?

A new product we have recently added to our product line is Dry Bamboo Wipes. Many people use disposable wet wipes for many purposes, such as baby wipes, hand wipes, or facial cleansers.  But when we introduced the Dry Bamboo Wipes, people would ask, “What can you do with dry wipes?”

The best response we have is, “There are no limits!” Because the wipes come dry, you can make your own natural formulas and create high quality wipes that are specific to your needs.

9882 - Dry Bamboo Wipes

These wipes are made from 100% bamboo fibers and are 100% biodegradable. The bamboo fibers create a very soft wipe that is especially great for sensitive skin (such as a baby’s bottom). Not only are the wipes free of parabens, petrochemicals, sodium lauryl sulfate, fragrances, and bleaching agents, but they are also hypoallergenic and tear resistant. What more can you ask for in a wipe?

Because they are biodegradable, you can use them as disposable wipes and throw them in the trash (not the toilet). But, if you prefer, they can also be washed and used multiple times since they are very sturdy and tear resistant. Note: For a longer life-span, let them air dry rather than placing them in the dryer.

Bamboo Wipe

Bamboo Wipe Recipes

Now we will answer the question, “What can you do with dry wipes?” Below are a list of recipes you can make and use with these wipes.

Please note that it is always better to let the wipes remain dry and add the liquid solution to them right before you use them. This prevents any mold or bacteria growth. However, if you use the wipes quickly, you may be able to soak a whole package in liquid.  If you prefer pre-moistened wipes, but may not use a whole package fast enough, try getting a small number of wipes wet and placing them in a sealed zip-top bag.

Baby Wipes

  • Servings: Yield = 1 3/4 cups of solution
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients and Materials Needed:

  • 1 1/2 cups distilled water
  • 2 Tbs. fractionated coconut oil
  • 2 Tbs. witch hazel
  • 6–8 drops vitamin E oil (2 capsules)
  • 3–4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3–4 drops melaleuca (tea tree) essential oil
  • 16 oz. PET Jar or baby wipe container

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients in a 16 oz. PET Jar. Shake until well combined.
To use, shake the jar and dip a bamboo wipe in the liquid. Squeeze out extra liquid and wipe the baby.

If you go through these fairly quickly, you can mix all the ingredients in a bowl and pour them over the bamboo wipes in the wipe container. However, due to the nature of using natural ingredients, mold may develop if the wipes are not used quickly.

Basic Hand Wipes

  • Servings: Yield = 3/4 cups of solution
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients and Materials Needed:

  • 1/2 Tbs. liquid soap base such as Castile Soap
  • 1/2 Tbs. carrier oil (such as olive oil or fractionated coconut oil, etc.)
  • 3–5 drops essential oil of your choice
  • 1/2 cup distilled water
  • Ziploc bag or small wipe container

Instructions:

Mix everything but water in a small bowl until well combined; then add water and mix together (avoid making bubbles). Place 10–20 bamboo wipes in a Ziploc bag, and pour the mixture over the wipes. Seal the bag, and let the liquid soak into the wipes.
To use, just pull a wipe from the bag, ring out any excess liquid, and wipe hands.

Some essential oils that can be used for different purposes are as follow:

  • Antimicrobial: arborvitae, cassia, cinnamon, cypress, geranium, helichrysum, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, melaleuca (tea tree), myrrh, rosemary, thyme, or a blend of antimicrobial oils.
  • Disinfectant: grapefruit, lemon, or Cleansing Blend.
  • Calming: bergamot, cedarwood, lavender, myrrh, and ylang ylang.
  • Alertness: basil, lemon, peppermint, and rosemary.
  • Refreshing: peppermint.
  • Moisturizing: geranium, lavender, lemon, patchouli, Roman chamomile, and sandalwood.

Bamboo Wipe

Cleaning/Disinfecting Wipes

  • Servings: Yield = 1 1/2 cups of solution
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients and Materials Needed:

  • 3/4 cup distilled water
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 20–25 drops disinfecting oil(s)
  • 16 oz. glass jar (a pint size Mason jar works well)

Modern Essentials recommends the following disinfecting oils: Protective Blend, lemon, Cleansing Blend, melaleuca, lime, cinnamon, thyme, and peppermint.

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together in a glass jar.
To use, dip a bamboo wipe in the liquid. Squeeze out extra liquid, and wipe the desired surface.

Dryer Sheets

  • Servings: Yield = 1/4 cup of solution
  • Time: 2 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients and Materials Needed:

  • 20 drops of your favorite essential oil
  • Enough white vinegar to fill the rest of the bottle
  • 2 oz. Glass Bottle with Lid
  • Safety pin(s) to reduce static (optional)

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients in a 2 oz. Glass Bottle with Lid.
To use, dab mixture on a dry bamboo wipe, and place the wipe in  the dryer. Add a safety pin or two to the bamboo wipe to reduce static.
NOTE: These wipes will hold up through a few drying cycles. Re-wet each cycle.

Eye Makeup Remover

  • Servings: Yield = 1/4 cup of solution
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients and Materials Needed:

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients in a 2 oz. Glass Bottle with Lid.
To use, shake the bottle, and dab the mixture on a dry bamboo wipe. Wipe over face and closed eyes.

Eye Cream/Makeup Remover

  • Servings: Yield = 1/4 cup of solution
  • Time: 2 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients and Materials Needed:

Instructions

Mix all ingredients in a 2 oz. Salve Jar.
To use, dip a bamboo wipe in the coconut oil mixture, wring it out, and then wipe over closed eyes or face. This also works great for fixing mistakes while applying makeup.


Woman_Spa

Facial Cleansing Wipes

  • Servings: Yield = 1 cup of solution
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients and Materials Needed:

  • 3/4 cup very warm distilled water
  • 1/2 Tbs. coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. rubbing alcohol (for emulsion)
  • 3–4 drops vitamin E oil (1 capsule)
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops lemon essential oil
  • 2 drops melaleuca (tea tree) essential oil
  • 12 oz. PET Jar

Instructions:

Shake or whisk all ingredients together until well combined. The warm water should melt the coconut oil, and the rubbing alcohol should help with the emulsion process.
To use, shake the jar and dip a bamboo wipe in the liquid. Squeeze out extra liquid and wipe face.

Lens/Screen Cleaner

  • Servings: Yield = 15 ml of solution
  • Time: 2 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients and Materials Needed:

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients in a 15 ml Spray Bottle.
To use, spray mixture on a dry bamboo wipe, and then wipe lens or screen. Do not use on plastic surfaces, as the lemon essential oil may harm the plastic!

Do you have any other ideas for using the Dry Bamboo Wipes?