Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Banana Walnut Bread

Banana bread is a favourite in our house and this is a recipe I make quite often. It's not difficult to make. The secret is not to over mix.



Banana Walnut Bread


3 very ripe bananas
2 eggs
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup plain or Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat the oven to 180C (350F).

In a large bowl mash the bananas. Add the vegetable oil and sugar. Mix with a large spoon.

In another bowl beat together the eggs, vanilla and yoghurt. Add this to the banana mixture and stir to combine.

Add the remaining ingredients. Stir until the mixture is well combined, but be careful not to over-mix.

Pour the mixture into a large loaf pan. The one I use is 24cm x 13.5cm and is 7.5cm deep. Bake for approximately one hour until cooked.





You may like to try these recipes:
Caramel Slice
ANZAC Biscuits
The best Shortbread



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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Eczema Soothing Facial Mask

This mask uses rosemary oil for it's skin-healing properties. Lavender essential oil is both calming and antiseptic. Nettle and calendula can help to soothe the skin and encourage healing. Oats to reduce redness.


Eczema Soothing Facial Mask


To make this you will need:

To make the nettle tea take 1 teaspoon of dried nettle leaves. Cover with just boiled water and allow to steep for approximately 10 minutes. Once it has cooled the strained liquid is ready to use.

Place the ground oats, pink clay and nettle tea in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add the calendula oil, rosemary essential oil and lavender essential oil, then stir again. Add the cooled boiled water a little at at time until you have a smooth, spreadable paste.

To use apply a thin layer to your face avoiding the area around your eyes. Leave for 10 to 15 minutes then rinse off with warm water. Follow with your usual moisturiser.

The mask will keep for 10-12 days if stored in the fridge. If the stored mask becomes thick thin it with a little more boiled water.


Calendula infused oil: This is simple to make but does need to be made ahead of time as it takes a few weeks. Details of how to make calendula infused oil are here. If you can't wait 6 weeks I have some available in my online store.







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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Six ways to use Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm (or Melissa) is an easy to grow perennial which will attract bees to your garden. It likes to rich soil and a little shade. Lemon balm has been used in traditional medicine for more than two thousand years.

Lemon Balm Tea


Traditionally hot lemon balm tea can help to soothe an upset stomach, combat indigestion, anxiety and stress. It may also lessen some of the symptoms of coughs and colds.

To make lemon balm tea place a handful of clean, fresh leaves in a small tea pot. Pour over enough just boiled water to cover the leaves. Place the lid on the tea pot and leave to steep for at least five minutes. Strain. Sweeten with a little honey if needed.


Cold Sore Treaments


Some studies indicate that lip balm made with lemon balm infused oil may help to lessen the symptoms and reduce healing time for cold sores.

Details of how to make an infused oil are here. Simply use lemon balm leaves in place of calendula petals.

You can use this simple recipe for lip balm. In a small double boiler or microwave-proof jug slowly and gently heat 30mls of lemon balm infused oil with 7g of beeswax and 7g of cocoa butter. Once melted add 3 drops each of tea tree essential oil and peppermint essential oil. Pour into a small, clean jar and allow to cool. Makes approximately 1/4 cup of balm.

Wood Polish


Take a handful of fresh lemon balm leaves and rub over the surface of wooden furniture. The oil in the leaves nourishes the wood and leaves behind a subtle lemon fragrance.

Insect Bites


Fresh leaves can help to relieve the itching of insect bites.

Keep Moths Away


I haven't tried this yet, but bundles of lemon balm leaves placed in a wardrobe or cupboard  are supposed to keep moths away.


Lemon Balm Vinegar


Fill a large jar 3/4 full with fresh, clean lemon balm leaves. Pour in enough Apple Cider Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar to cover the leaves. Seal the jar with a non-metallic lid (the vinegar will cause a metal lid to break down and corrode over time). Store in a cool dark place for 6 to 8 weeks.

The infused vinegar can be used as a rinse for greasy hair and works well in homemade salad dressing adding a subtle lemony flavour.




CAUTION: avoid using lemon balm if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have an under-active thyroid.


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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Soothing Bath Salts

The baking soda in these salts will both soothe you skin and soften hard water. Lemon Balm essential oil can help relieve skin irritations. Rose and lavender essential oils work together to create a fragrance that is both a classic and gorgeous.



Soothing Bath Salts


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 2 cup medium sea salt or 1 1/2 cups sea salt and 1/2 cup Himalaya salts
  • 5 drops rose essential oil
  • 5 drops lemon balm essential
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil


Place the salts and baking soda in a non-metallic bowl and stir to combine. Add the essential oils and stir to distribute. 

Alternatively place the salts and baking soda in a large glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine. Add the essential oils and shake again to distribute the oils through the salt mixture

Will keep for up to 12 months in an airtight container.

To use dissolve 1/4 cup of the bath salts in running water and enjoy.












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