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peppermint post

Top Uses and Benefits of Peppermint Essential Oil

By | Essential Oils, Health & Wellness | No Comments

The following is a guest post from Heather Koenig of Essential Oils Living! She shares her top uses and benefits of Peppermint Essential Oil.

Peppermint is one of the more commonly known essential oils. For those of us who love it, we can’t get enough of it — especially in and around the holidays. The smell of peppermint can lead us to memories of holiday baking, pulling that candy cane off the tree, or quite simply, enjoying the cheer of the holiday season.

When we smell peppermint, we know the holidays are just around the corner. Peppermint essential oils, however, can play a role in our homes all throughout the year. It’s an all-natural product that is hardly restricted to simply a holiday treat or after-dinner breath freshener.

Peppermint essential oils can be added to cleaning supplies, they can be effective bug repellents, and they can even give you that much-needed afternoon pick-me-up. So without further ado, here are a number of ideas for how you can use peppermint at home all throughout the year.


Some Household Uses

We hate the feeling of seeing those creepy crawlies in our homes (spiders, flies, and other undesirable creatures). Well, with peppermint oils, you can show them they aren’t welcome in your home. These oils are a safe naturally-derived alternative to commercial bug and spider repellents, and are often just as effective.

How does it work? Simply put 1-3 drops of the oil on a cotton ball and hide it around the house where these unwelcome guests may lurk. Then, quite simply, you wait.

Looking for a green alternative cleaning option with multiple uses around your house? Use this recipe as a powerful and great-smelling multi-purpose cleaner:

  • ½ cup distilled vinegar

  • ½ cup water

  • 12-24 drops of peppermint oil

Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Well, here’s a natural alternative you can use to keep your body and mind energized all throughout the day. Try diffusing just a few drops (2-5) of peppermint oil in your ionic diffuser and enjoy the change in atmosphere. It just might give you that energy boost you need to get through even your most stressful and exhaustive days.


Some Health Uses

Kick the ticks with peppermint. If you find a tick on your body, apply some peppermint oil to a cotton ball and then “share it” with the tick. Not only will it stop burrowing, but you’ll be able to release him from your skin.

Furthermore, consider these tips for a healthy, more stress-free lifestyle:

  • Find some relief for joint pain by using peppermint oil to soothe and restore.

  • Curb your appetite. The aromatic effects of peppermint can make you feel fuller more quickly.

  • Calm painful tension headaches with just a few drops of peppermint oil applied topically.

After a long day’s work, a tough workout, or just a long shopping session, find restoration in the power of using a few drops of peppermint oil in your bath. Pair it with epsom salts and it is sure to give you the pick-me-up you need!


Food and Beverage Uses

Just because it’s an “oil” doesn’t mean you can’t consume it. You can enhance a variety of your beverages with peppermint oil. That’s right, you can add a kick to your teas, coffees, hot cocoas, and even cocktails!

Both milk and dark chocolate can be refreshed with a few drops of peppermint oil. Surely you’ve tried a mint chocolate! Get creative in the kitchen this holiday season and see what recipes you can improve with a little touch of peppermint!

Peppermint icing…mmm. Add a couple of drops to a homemade frosting recipe. That, in itself, should be enough to heighten your senses!

Please visit Heather’s site to learn more!

You can also purchase Essential Oils via my site and have them shipped right to your home!

A teacher and natural health guru, Heather Koenig has a passion for all things natural. In addition to living a natural lifestyle herself, Heather loves sharing her expertise with others on her website Essential Oils Living (

A teacher and natural health guru, Heather Koenig has a passion
for all things natural. In addition to living a natural lifestyle herself,
Heather loves sharing her expertise with others on her website
Essential Oils Living (

Tips for aHealthy Winter!

Tips for a Healthy Winter

By | Health & Wellness | No Comments

My Facebook news feed is FULL of posts revealing sickness, flu, colds, bronchitis, etc. It seems like everyone is sick. Because of that I feel compelled to share what we do to support our immune systems at our house.

Now, this doesn’t mean we never get sick, but honestly it is rare and when we do it is much more mild and shorter-lived than in the past. I don’t have a magic bullett or one-product tip. Rather, I think it’s several things working together. This is what has worked for us:

Here’s what we do at our house:

1. Elderberry syrup.

This stuff is our “magic juice”. We take a little every day in a fun little shot glass with a squirt of fermented cod liver oil. Yum. (it’s actually not that bad). We typically only take this during the late fall, winter and early spring. You can purchase this pre-made in healthfood stores, but it’s MUCH more economical to make your own. I keep it in a mason jar in the fridge. Elderberry Syrup Recipe.

*When sick and feeling like we are coming down with something, we take it several times throughout the day – sometimes even every couple of hours.

2. Juice Plus.

Adults do the capsules, kids do the gummies. It bridges that gap between the whole food fruits/veggies we SHOULD be eating and what we actually are. It’s dehydrated whole fruits/veggies which are pesticide/chemical-free and non-GMO. I’ve noticed more energy and faster-growing hair/nails since taking this. We all know the antioxidants and vitamins from whole fruits and veggies are SO important to our immune and overall health. (We double or triple our Juice Plus when sick – and since it’s just fruits and veggies, we can’t overdose!)  Learn more here.

One of my favorite Doctors, Dr. William Sears, talks about Keeping Kids Healthy (kids age 4 and over eat Juice Plus FREE with a sponsoring adult):


3. Fermented Cod Liver Oil

We mostly just use this during the winter when we aren’t outside getting natural Vitamin D from the sun. The great thing is that fermented cod liver oil is a food source of Vitamin D and Vitamin A. Here’s how I get my kids to take it.

4. Avoiding sugar and processed food.

Sugar and junk food (including processed foods) makes it harder for our bodies to do what they are supposed to do. Those extra chemicals, food dyes, processed foods and sugars also suppress our immune system. We aim to eat whole, Real Food whenever possible. We also avoid GMO foods, fake oils, artificial colorings and flavorings, and choose organic whenever it’s available as an option.

Have you ever noticed how many people get sick between Halloween and Christmas? I have a hunch (that’s probably well-supported) that sugar may be a major culprit for this. So much sugar-ladened foods and candy are consumed during this time, and it can only be weakening our immune systems.

Pre-Party Post

5. Reducing Stress.

Often this gets overlooked, but stress can cause a lot of issues and imbalances in our bodies. One way we reduce stress at our house is to exercise. You know that “high” you get after a good workout? It makes you feel great! Plus, when you are taking care of yourself in this way you feel better about your appearance. It’s not about being super thin, but rather caring for yourself in a more holistic way.

Another tip to reduce stress and provide self-care for yourself would be to choose at least one enjoyable activity daily. Maybe it’s a quite walk in the woods, a cup of tea and a good book or a bubble bath. Whatever it is, don’t forget to take care of this part of yourself, too. This is one of the things I want to focus on in the upcoming year.

6. Essential Oils.

I’m just discovering this option. I know, I’m a little behind the times. But I think there are some great options in the world of essential oils for prevention, treatment and aromatherapy to stay healthy and empower your immune system to fight things off effectively.

I’d love to hear your tips for boosting immune health especially over the winter months.


How do you stay healthy over the winter months?



Disclaimer: This is not medical advice nor should you take it as such. I am simply sharing what has worked well for our family!

Frugal Real Food Meal Plans

By | Meal Planning & Organization, Special Deals & Giveaways | No Comments

Frugal Real Food Meal Plans

If you’ve been following my Meal Planning series recently (see Step 1 and Step 2), then you know meal planning obviously takes some time and preparation. While making your plan and prep lists can be enjoyable and fulfilling for some, others would rather have someone else do that part for them. <— If this is you, keep reading!

Also, we all know that Real Food can be more expensive, ESPECIALLY if you aren’t planning or using ingredients to their fullest extent. We are all looking for ways to save money while still eating Real Food, am I right?!

I now have a solution for both the planning/prep list AND the money challenge.

Frugal Real Food Meal Plans is launching TODAY, Dec. 29th. And they are even running a special introductory price through Jan. 5th! Yipee! I love sales! Seriously folks, for the price that you can get during the promotional time, it is WELL worth it.

Frugal Real Food Meal Plans

What the Frugal Real Food Meal Plans Include:

        A Full Month of Dinners     Bi-Monthly Shopping Lists    Tips for hosting company

12 Breakfasts          12 Lunches           Weekly Shopping Lists (for produce)   Frugal Recipe Modifications

       Tips for Freezer Meals       Slow Cooker Meals       4 Healthy Dessert Ideas     Tips for Saving Even More

Bi-Monthly Prep List         Price Points for Each Item          Planning Printables (so you can personalize)


She offers a FREE 14-day PDF download so you can try it out first. It may not be for everyone, but at least you can give it a 2-week trial run and then decide!


Product Launch Promotional Period:

  • December 29, 2014 – January 5, 2015

Product Launch Promotional Pricing:

  • 3 Month Membership – $13/month
  • 6 Month Membership – $12/month
  • 12 Month Membership – $9.99/month ← BY FAR THE BEST DEAL!

(Membership fees are billed monthly. Prices above only valid December 29 – January 5. They will change effective January 6, 2015.)

Special Promotion For 8 Days Only:

You can save an additional 20% off the 12 month membershipmaking it just $7.99/monthwhen you pay in full using a coupon code (will be provided before the sale starts) <—-I will update this area with the code once it’s released. For now, just follow my links here to the Frugal Real Food Meals plans!

With a 12 month membership, this subscription is just $1.84 each week – the equivalent of a bunch of bananas at the grocery store!

BONUS! Making a purchase during this promotional period secures the monthly rate. When it’s time to renew the subscription, you can take advantage of the same low monthly price!

Are you ready to save yourself some TIME, MONEY, SANITY and still feed your family Real Food?! I am! Let’s do this together! Check it out here!




Disclaimer: I have an affiliate relationship with Frugal Real Food Meal Plans and will make a small commission with each sale. I only choose to promote products and services that resonate with the Real Food – Holistic Health – Nutrition focus of my blog. Thanks in advance for supporting this part-time job with your purchase through my links!


Meal Planning Step 2: Make a calendar

By | Meal Planning & Organization | No Comments

Okay, now that you have your recipe list made (see Meal Planning Step 1 if you haven’t already), now it’s time to plug them into a calendar.

I’m a paper person, so I prefer to go to a calendar-printing website (or iCal) and I print out a monthly blank calendar. If you prefer digital you can do it that way, as well.

Yes, I’m THAT weirdo that still uses a paper planner.

There are 2 options for how to plug your recipes into the days:

1. Just go down your list add assign them a day.

2. Be more intentional and rotate through your categories (chicken, pasta, soup, etc), assigning each one a day.

For example, maybe you will do Meatless Monday, Chicken Tuesday, Soup Wednesday, etc.

I’d suggest planning for leftovers as well, unless you plan to eat leftovers for lunch, etc (that’s what we do at our house).

If you eat out, you can plan that into your meal planning as well.

Right now, I’m assuming we are all just planning for dinners – I am much more sporadic and last-minute with breakfast planning. Mostly because I always have oatmeal, eggs, ingredients for homemade pancakes, bacon and sausage on-hand all the time. Because of that, I can just decide the night before (or morning of!) what I’m going to do. But, you certainly can go ahead and plan breakfasts if that helps your cause.

Find what works for you, these are simply suggestions that might help!

I need to update it, but here’s what one of my past months’ worth of dinner planning looks like: 30 Days of Dinners – My Menu Plan

Now, you might be reading this and are beginning to think:

“This all just too hard and too time-consuming. I want someone to do this FOR me”.

Well, you are in luck!

There is a great meal-planning service that will be launching after the new year. I am in the midst of giving it a try (they are allowing some of us who are affiliates to try it out) and so far I am impressed!!! If you’d like to get on the list you can do that HERE.  ***Bonus, they will also be offering some “Real Food on a Budget 101″ videos for FREE as well. I will be sharing a post VERY soon about this.

Frugal Real Food Meal Plans

I think sharing and supporting each other is so important. Please comment below and share with us how the meal-planning is going so far.

Have you had any challenges or victories?


Calendar photo credit

Meal Planning Step 1

Meal Planning Step 1: Getting Ready to Plan!

By | Meal Planning & Organization | 2 Comments

Meal planning can seem very overwhelming, can’t it?

When I think of meal planning, I think of hours of my time, magazines and cookbooks piling up, stressful searching of the internet and Pinterest, and messy, complicated lists.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

So many of us WANT to plan our meals but we don’t know where to start.

I’m here to help! I don’t consider myself an expert in meal planning at all, but I know enough to know what NOT to do and what makes it easier.

My methods might not be the ones for you and that’s okay. But, maybe you can pull a few tips out from this series that will help you make your meal planning easier and more streamlined.

First things first – please know that we are going to take this SLOW. In fact, I will give you some tips today and I probably won’t have the next Meal Planning post up for this series until a week from now. And you can always come back to these and go at your own pace.

How to Get Ready to Meal Plan

1. Make a list of your favorite meals and recipes.

This doesn’t mean you have to search the internet for new ones. They might not even be things that are “recipes” (ex. grilled cheese and tomato soup). Just make a list of your family favorites – the ones that you know you and your family will eat. You know, the usuals.

We can get “fancy” later and add some new recipes, but for now, just keep it simple.

meal list


2. Extra credit: Put those recipes into categories.

Depending on your food preferences, these categories might include chicken, beef, seafood, chicken, soup, meatless, casseroles, vegetarian, pasta, etc.

This step isn’t necessary, but if you are a little OCD like me, it will help prevent you from having chicken 4 nights in a row. :-)


That’s all. This is the only thing you have to do to get started.

Keep a list on your refrigerator and when a favorite recipe comes to mind, put the name of it on your list. It might take a while and that’s okay. You can use your recipe box, your saved links in your email folder and Pinterest.

I recommend somehow having the actual recipes/ingredient lists easily accessible. The next step will be plugging these into a calendar. So, as you think about that and as you make your list of recipe names, be sure you can find them back when we move to the next step!


 To check out or purchase the food books in my main picture, visit Amazon:

Cooking from the Farmers’ Market

Wolfgang Puck Makes it Healthy

Cooking New American

American Classics




Deiss Julienne Peeler Review

By | Books & Resources, Special Deals & Giveaways | No Comments

Occasionally I am asked to review products. And I’m pretty picky about what I say “yes” to – I tend only to review the ones that are food or kitchen-related and this is one of them.

This Deiss Julienne Peeler is so cool. It’s made by Deiss Kitchenware, a small family-owned company in Germany. That in and of itself makes it cool!

My first reaction when I took it out of it’s fancy box….

front box

…was that it was heavier than I had anticipated.

I figured this meant it would be clunky to use.

But I was wrong.

The added weight made peeling a breeze!


Here are some of the other highlights:

- you can peel in any direction

- you can peel in any direction

- one blade peels

- one blade cuts julienne strips

- one end can remove the “eyes” of potatoes

- the other end can make long/thick slices


back cover

The ONLY complaint I have had while using it is that you have to learn to peel a little differently than a “regular” peeler. I found that it worked best when I put the flat end of a veggie down on a cutting board or hard surface and then peeled downward. But, this is probably just habit from using a regular ‘ole peeler and I am sure the more I used this one, the easier it will be.

All of these benefits and features are topped off with the fact that it’s very reasonably priced at $13.79!

So, for all of those real foodies in your life (or just those that like to cook), this could make an excellent stocking stuffer or Christmas gift!

As always, shopping through my Amazon links helps me earn a little extra commission to keep things going around the blog, so thank you! You can find the Deiss Julienne Peeler here!


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.