Homemade Deodorant

Hi, everyone! I’m going to share my incredibly easy deodorant recipe. A little goes a long way and this stuff lasts awhile.

I haven’t bought deodorant for myself for almost a year now. I have been using homemade the entire time and it actually works. All you need are: coconut oil, shea butter, essential oils, arrowroot powder, a mixing bowl, and hand bender.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 tablespoons shea butter (or more)
  • 10 drops of chosen essential oil, or oil blend
    • Add 10 drops cypress essential oil to existing essential oil or blend if you need extra strength like I do

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It’s pretty simple. Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl then mix with the hand mixer. If the consistency is too wet, add some more arrowroot powder. If it’s too dry, add more coconut oil or shea butter if you need it to be less dry but more solid.

If you use extra strength, cypress essential oil is great for deoderizing.

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I store mine in a dark glass container, because of the essential oils. Like I stated before, a little bit goes a long way. I put mine on right after a shower on clean skin, not wanting to lock dirt in with the blend inadvertently. I like using this recipe because it doesn’t have unneeded chemicals in the blend that can have ill effects on your skin. When I’m out, it takes 5 minutes to make more. I love it!

How about you? Would you try homemade deodorant instead of store-bought?

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Cinnamon Roll Bread for the Bread Machine

Hello again! I have a treat to share with everyone. A few weeks ago I used the bread machine to make cinnamon roll bread. It’s my take on a recipe in the book that came with my bread machine.

Now, if you’re looking at getting a bread machine, I use the Zojirushi BB-PAC20. It’s not cheap, but you do get what you pay for. I have never had this thing fail and have never had any parts go bad. It’s as efficient as the day I got it nearly four years ago. So one of the first recipes I tried from the book was this cinnamon roll bread. It’s a good recipe. I adjusted it to gear more towards our joint cinnamon obsession we have as a family. The icing recipe downright sucked, so I used an old one I’ve had forever. Probably not as healthy for you, but if you’re baking cinnamon roll bread, healthy probably isn’t that high of a priority for this recipe.

This loaf doesn’t last more than two days at my house and that’s only because we have to limit the kids. My son will projectile vomit if he consumes too much junk in a day. He has been that way forever, so we all practice self control around sweets as a general rule.

Anyway, this bread. If you do not have the same bread machine, you can tinker with it. My machine is for a 2 lb. loaf and is more horizontal in shape, not vertical. It looks like a meatloaf pan. If you do not have a bread machine, you can still use a loaf pan and it’ll look just as pretty.

I am going to add the manual time adjustments made to the bread machine for rise times the rolls spend in the actual machine. If you are not using a machine, you can easily make the rolls and roll them out and let them rise in the fridge overnight to use the next day.

The first thing we do is add the ingredients. Add the ingredients in the order your manual for your bread machine specifies. The order I use is:

  1. Liquids
  2. Any substance that is almost that in between consistence of solid and liquid
  3. Spices/herbs/seasonings (including sugar)
  4. Flour
  5. Yeast in a hole I make in the flour pile

For the bread, I add the following in this order:

  1. 1 cup milk (we use milk from our own goats)
  2. 2 beaten large eggs (we use our duck eggs because they’re the best for baking)
  3. 2 1/2 tablespoons softened butter (we use home churned cow butter from another local homestead)
  4. 4 tablespoons sugar
  5. 2 teaspoons salt
  6. 4 1/4 cups bread flour (all-purpose works, too)
  7. 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (I have used bread machine yeast with success)

 

Now the interesting part. The first time I did this part I felt like I was doing it wrong because everything was put in manually. Now I have this setting saved in the machine and it’s not so bad. Again, you can make the rolls and store them in the fridge overnight and then bake in the oven if that’s easier.

Some bread machines have a “REST” option. The reason is you don’t really use a lot of cold ingredients for most bread recipes as it can actually affect the whole process. So the rest period is used to have everything sit and come to as close to room temperature as possible before kneading begins. This isn’t needed for this particular recipe so I shut it off. So, when I use this recipe it immediately begins kneading. I have the kneading time set to 20 minutes. I tell our Amazon Echo to let me know when kneading is done so I can do some laundry, prep for dinner, feed the animals, whatever I need to while I let the bread machine do my least favorite step of bread making: kneading. I hate it.

My machine also beeps for what is now called the “SHAPE” phase. You should have a pretty decent sized bit of dough. If you have my brand, or if yours does something similar, leave the machine on and take the dough out. You need to split the big ball of dough in half. Because it’s huge. Shape each piece into a ball and cover with a damp cloth for 30 minutes of rest time. At this time, before you forget, take out the kneading blades from the bread pan. You no longer need them at this point and they’ll puncture your pretty bread. After time is up, roll out one ball with a rolling-pin into a 12″ X 12″ square. Don’t let this intimidate you though. It did me and I don’t know why. It’s going to be just as tasty and pretty if it’s not a perfect square or exactly 12″ X 12″ so don’t fret if it looks ugly at first.

Brush milk on the square and then add your sugar and cinnamon mixture on top and smooth it out. We use 1/3 cup of sugar and about a tablespoon of cinnamon, give or take. I swear not all of the cinnamon in my house smells as strongly depending on the brand I buy or how long it’s been stored. We love cinnamon so I add the tablespoon and mix it up, then I actually smell it to see if I’d like to add more. It’s kind of weird practice, but I don’t add the same exact amount every single time. Now, this can be overbearing for some. So if I’m making this for a crowd and not just my family I reduce the cinnamon to only 1 teaspoon. 1 tablespoon truly is a lot.

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After placing the mixture, I use my hands to roll it up, sealing either side of the roll. Then you take a knife and cut as close as you can to 10 equal pieces. Repeat this process for the second ball then place all rolls randomly in the bread pan. Truly be random. It’s so pretty when it’s done.

 

Put the bread pan back into the machine, close the lid, and hit start. On my machine, I’m given the option to put in for three different rise times so that the rolls rise sufficiently before baking. Again, if you do not have this option, let them rolls rise overnight in the fridge. My rising times are as follows:

  • Rise 1: 45 minutes
  • Rise 2: 25 minutes
  • Rise 3: 55 minutes

Then my loaf bakes for 55 minutes.

The icing I use is a simple one, but not as simple as the recipe in the book. The book states to just mix 1/2 cup of powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon or so of water. I didn’t like it. My family and I like cream cheese icing. The icing recipe I used calls for:

  1. 6 tablespoons butter
  2. 6 cups powdered sugar
  3. 4 ounces softened cream cheese (I have used more before)
  4. Start off with about 4 tablespoons of milk, but add more if needed

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk until butter turns from yellow to a darker golden. Remove from heat and add to a mixing bowl. In the mixing bowl add cream cheese and mix for about 2-3 minutes until creamy. Mix the powdered sugar one cup at a time with about a tablespoon or two of milk after each addition. Once all the powdered sugar is added, add a tablespoon of milk as needed while mixing until you get the creamy consistency you want. Then pour over the loaf. The result?

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I sometimes make a double batch for dipping because some of the bread gets neglected. I like to pull the rolls off to eat, but you can certainly slice this like bread successfully. It tastes heavenly and looks great for parties. It’s one of our favorites and I love being able to make it in my bread machine because there is so much that calls for my attention in just one day. It’s just so easy to get everything ready and have most of it done in the machine.

Thanks for reading, leave comments below if you’ve tried it or have any questions. Until next time!

Happy Fourth of July!

This won’t be a really long post. We just wanted to wish everyone a belated Happy 4th and briefly share how we celebrated. We took time in the morning to speak with our 6 and 7 year olds about why we celebrate our Independence Day. Then we loaded up the truck and headed over to my in-laws’ hotel, Sierra Suites in Daytona Beach.

There we smoked some chicken for family, friends, and guests.

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We also smoked and grilled some of our famous chicken sausage. Others attending the celebration brought other yummy food like key lime pie, pasta and potato salad, strawberry tarts, macaroni and cheese, corn and black bean salad, and a really neat veggie pizza variation. It was a real treat and everyone had a full belly.

Being that we were on the beach with several little ones, I didn’t bring my camera. I apologize that we had to use the phone for photos. As it grew dark, we enjoyed fireworks and I do have to note it has been quite a few years since I’ve seen so many fireworks in this area. People celebrate where we live pretty patriotically in the traditional sense of blowing up a plethora of fireworks, but Daytona was lit up last night. Before the city started its scheduled show the beach’s sky–from all directions–was aflame with bright greens, reds, blues, and swirls of light. The whistles of other firecrackers got the biggest reaction from my son, who could not contain giggles of excitement. Riding home, was just as exciting of a show as on the beach. Fireworks were going off everywhere. I haven’t seen so many in Daytona for a long time.

We had a blast and from our farm to you, we hope you enjoyed yesterday as well. Happy Fourth of July and thank you to every man and woman who has contributed and continues to contribute to protecting our freedoms in the land of the brave.

Feverfew

My somewhat recent acquired feverfew is finally blooming! It is a small flower and it gives off a very cute appearance, which couldn’t be more contrasting from its fierce properties.

By the way, you use the leaves. Not the flowers. Which kind of makes me sad because it is so cool to harvest a flower for its medicinal properties. Still though.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Fever

As its name suggests, this herb aids in fever reduction. It is a diaphoretic, which can induce sweating. Normally, this isn’t a sought after reaction of our bodies; I don’t meet a lot of people who particularly enjoy sweating, but this does help break a fever as sweating is the body’s natural response to overheating. Sweating will also help eliminate some toxins within the body.

Migraines

Migraines. Ugh. I don’t get them often, but when I do it is torture. I never had a migraine until after my first pregnancy. And then I didn’t have ANY during my second pregnancy. Then they came back. Jerks. I can see my migraines coming sometimes. The lights shimmer. And if I do miss that warning sign, I can suddenly smell everything in a room when one is about to hit me. If I catch it in time and treat it, I can avert it. If not, I end up suffering through it until vomiting. Yay! So, if you’re as familiar with this hell as I am, I will tell you this can help. Tension in the cardiovascular system is what can cause these headaches. Feverfew relaxes the vessels needed for relief.

Anxiety

Feverfew can help with chronic anxiety. This is a strange one. Normally when we say an herb may be able to assist in something, it is because we have actual facts to support it. The only evidence that is found on this subject is that it just does. Nobody is really sure what components of the herb are responsible for this. We just know that people swear by it and it worked on some rodents in a lab.

Anti-Inflammatory

Volatile components in feverfew have anti-inflammatory properties. Feverfew may help those with chronic pain caused by inflammation, like joint pain or arthritis.

Analgesic

Always gotta give credit when an herb is analgesic. This aids in the reducing of the sensation of pain. Some herbs are stronger in this area than others, but this is always a nice perk. Especially if you’re fighting headaches at the root cause or breaking fevers–all of which feverfew does.

Menstruation

Sorry, men. This needs to be talked about because it happens and it is never fun. Remember that feverfew is an anti-inflammatory and a stress reducer. Two big things to aid during those monthly cycles. This also means this herb should be avoided when pregnant. It can cause early contractions and that’s not good for obvious reasons. There is not enough information for me to say this is an okay herb to take while breastfeeding either. Generally, though not always, if you can’t take it while you’re pregnant you should avoid it while breastfeeding unless otherwise stated. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

So, that is the mighty feverfew. All compacted into a dainty little flower. That you don’t use. Still irked by that.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Here’s the leaf that you use.

Have you ever used feverfew? What do you use it for?

Curious about other medicinal herbs we grow? Check out our medicinal herb garden here.

Growing up on the Homestead

My husband grew up in close proximity with Amish communities. He was exposed to good food and understanding where food actually comes from. He did not personally work a farm the way that we do now as a family. I grew up with a family dog and store-bought food. We did grow our own vegetables and dabble in herbal medicine, but that was it.

The choice to switch to a homesteading lifestyle was based on our children. We wanted them to eat well, learn empathy, and work hard. When my children talk about their home life in school, the common reactions I hear from other adults range from “That’s amazing” to “That sounds like… a lot.”

It is a lot. And it is nonstop. My daughter failed one of her first small social studies assessments because she argued that people do make their own food today, not “long ago.” The teacher told her that people do not make their own food, they buy it at the store. My daughter was pretty adamant that the teacher was completely wrong. We both had to explain that the general population buys eggs, chicken, and other dairy products from the grocery store. Not everyone makes it or trades with other farms. Despite the fascination or harsh judgements made by other people, our children are growing into–we hope–healthy and enlightened individuals.

Talking about homesteading life often sounds less desirable than it truly is. There are bad days. There are horrendous days. There are scary days. There are breakdown and cry all day while you’re still working days. But most days are good, happy, and fulfilling.

I am going to showcase a compilation of what homesteading life looks like on the best of days because I feel those don’t get talked about enough.

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Homesteading is dandelion wishes.

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Homesteading is finding the occasional fairy egg.

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Homesteading is when new animals stop by your property just to say hi (not our cat).

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Homesteading is hugging a 6 hour old goat.

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Homesteading is homemade remedies and bad handwriting.

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Homesteading is fresh and rejuvenating.

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Homesteading is full of 4 in the morning surprises.

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Homesteading is about more than one family sharing space.

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Homesteading is good food.

I didn’t grow up on a homestead, but we’re very thankful for the opportunity for our children to live this way. They help every way they can. There is a lot of hard work, but there is plenty for them to thoroughly enjoy as well.