Monthly Archives: January 2014

Refrigerator (or Freezer) Jam Recipe: Homemade Blackberry Mint Mojito Jam

BlackberriesOne of the beautiful things about doing so much preserving over the summer is getting a chance to break into our warm-weather bounty in these (horribly nasty) cold-weather months!

An especially tasty gem I had tucked away in the deep depths of my freezer: Homemade Blackberry Mint Mojito Jam. If you caught my earlier post about the Raspberry Rosemary Lemon Refrigerator/Freezer Jam, then you’ll already be familiar with the glorious ease and tastiness of this type of jam-making method.

It’s quick and easy… and allows you to skip some of the more intensive steps required in full-on water bath canning. You can use any size glass container you wish – just be sure it is clean (sanitize setting on your dishwasher, or at least 30 minutes soaked in vinegar and then let air dry).

Also… once you have this made, you’ll be able to make what I’ll be sharing next week: Homemade Blackberry Mint Mojito Toaster Tarts! Oh yes. Yes indeed.

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What’s also nice about this recipe is you can use fresh berries in the summer when they are plentiful (or in cooler months when organic berries magically pop up in your favorite market), but it works just as well with frozen berries. Berries are on EWG’s “dirty dozen” list, so I really do encourage you to use organic if you can.

Similarly, if you’ve got access to fresh mint (either in your own garden or via a local farmers’ market), it will taste fantastic. But in a pinch, you can also use 2 drops of peppermint extract. Not quite the same… but still pretty darn yummy!

7 oz. blackberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
juice from 1 small/medium lime ( 2-3 Tbsp freshly squeezed)
1 cup water
4 medium or 6 small mint sprigs (we’re talking 1-2 inches on the small to medium scale) OR 2 drops peppermint extract
3 Tbsp cornstarch + 1/4 cup water

  • Combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water, stirring well, and set aside. (After stirring, the cornstarch should be completely dissolved.)
  • In a medium pot, combine the blackberries, sugar, lime juice, and mint sprigs (or extract if that’s what you’re using). Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the mixture reaches a boil, allow to boil 3-5 minutes, until the blackberries begin to break up.
  • If using fresh mint, remove the mint sprigs (forks make this relatively easy) and discard.
  • Add your cornstarch/water mixture and continue to boil the jam for at least 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Remove the pot from heat and allow to cool.
  • Carefully ladel/spoon the warm jam into clean glass jars. (You can use whatever sized container desired; I tend to prefer 4 or 8 oz. glass jars, but there’s no right or wrong.)
  • Allow the jars to cool before placing on the lids. This jam can be stored in the refrigerator for a little over a week and in the freezer for up to a year. (Remember to label with your expiration date!)

DIY Whitening Rinse Recipe: Simple Homemade Whitening Mouthwash

DIY Whitening MouthwashI am an avid tea drinker… some might even say I am addicted to tea. (Some do.) I drink it all day, at all times of the year. I love it.

Unfortunately (and I found this out the hard way), it stains just as bad as coffee. I have experienced a long string of dental hygienists who looked into my mouth and sighed—dispirited by the long, difficult task that lay before them.

Thankfully, my current hygienist (who is awesome) recommended a trick to help significantly decrease staining and buildup. She actually recommended two options… but I latched onto the one that was the simplest and least chemical-laden.

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DIY Shampoo + DIY Conditioner Recipe: How to Make Your Own Lavender Shampoo + Rosemary Conditioner

So… today’s homemade shampoo and conditioner recipes will shock you with their simplicity. So much so, that I am going to take a bit of space to share why it’s good to make your own shampoo and conditioner – and some of the benefits of taking care of your hair a little differently.

Here are the four biggest benefits I’ve experienced in making my own natural (and chemical-free) shampoo and conditioner:

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DIY Deodorant Recipe + Pros/Cons of 3 Natural Deodorant Options

At work...Homemade deodorant was one of those hurdles I balked at when taking on making my own non-toxic personal care products. I guess I was convinced there was no way it would work. Or it would feel funny. Or stain my clothes. Or be too hard.

Luckily, I was wrong on all counts! I started experimenting with natural deodorants after seeing the film Chemerical and seeing continued suggestions that the aluminum found in most store-bought deodorants may be linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. (Not to mention other potentially dangerous chemicals like parabens, pthalates, and SLS.)

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5 Green + Easy Resolutions for the New Year

Green ManHappy New Year everyone! I’ve been a bit MIA with all the crazy weather, canceled schooldays, and general household-type-busy-minutia (with a few unexpected mini-crises thrown in).

To kick things off as I get back in the routine of posting regularly, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on some of the most significant things you can do to help green things up this year. Most of these ideas not only save you money, but they also ensure you have a less toxic home, an increased amount of self-sufficiency, and are actively engaged in planetary stewardship through sustainable efforts.

All of which should make for a pretty rewarding 2014!

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