Experience Truth in Wellness

Living Shalom is a Biblically-based endeavor that exists to inspire and equip you to experience greater health and wellness. Wellness Advocate, Lisa Gautier, shares knowledge, resources, and her own experiences related to health and wellness, and invites you to join her on the journey toward more abundant life and health!

Homemade Bar Soap

Homemade Goat's Milk Soap

Homemade Goat’s Milk Soap

While I’m on a kick with homemade skincare products, our next stop is going to be on how to make homemade soap.

This was what I got from my younger sister for Christmas.

What is it with sisters giving homemade beauty products this past Christmas??? I have no idea…

However, I do know that my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed these soaps. And my husband has very sensitive skin and cannot use all skin care products. He liked these soaps so much I found him finally saying to me, “Um…is it hard to make this??” which I translated to mean, “Hey, I really like this soap we’ve been using from your sister. Could YOU make some more for us?”

Ok, I get the hint.

So, I started to find out from my sister what the ingredients were and how to make it. It’s really super simple, and I’ll give you a tip for how to save money on it too!

Here goes…

Ingredients you need:

  • Goat’s milk soap base – package at Michaels Craft Store makes four 2.5 oz bars of soap
  • Loaf pan to pour soap into
  • Exfoliant of choice (coffee grounds, dried lavender, etc.)
  • Essential oil or extract of choice (lavender, vanilla, etc.)

How to make the soap:

To make the soap, obtain goat’s milk base from a craft store. Tip: to save 50% off, get a coupon at the Michaels website or in their regular flyers which makes the $10 base only $5. Melt the soap base in the microwave. Once melted, stir in your desired exfoliant and essential oil(s) / extract(s) in the preferred amounts. Pour mixture into loaf pan and let harden. Once hardened, pop out and slice into four 2.5 oz soap bars.

Enjoy bathing with your new homemade body bars!

Homemade Lotion

Homemade Hand Lotion

Homemade Lotion

Ok, so I seriously need to learn how to make this. My sister-in-law gave me this homemade lotion for Christmas and it is the BEST HAND CREAM I HAVE EVER USED!!! (That’s what I’ve been using it for…my hands…cause they get so dry in the winter.)

Yay for great presents from even better sisters. :0)

Ever made your own homemade hand cream? I made homemade lotion years ago, but as much as I like that, even this beats that…

Below are her ingredients. I’m planning to get the full recipe from her on proportions so I can make this once I’m out!

Homemade Lotion Ingredients

Homemade Lotion Ingredients

Homemade Lip Balm

Homemade lip balm

Homemade lip balm

Well the holidays have come and gone, and I’ve been crazy busy between my husband preparing for and performing at the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships at Thanksgiving, and then the Christmas and New Year holiday (which was the time I totaled our new – to us – Prius). Sheesh.

Needless to say, blogging got the back burner.

But here I am! And today sharing about a homemade, healthy lip balm you can make that is super easy and super cheap.

Items you need:

  • Small srew-on make-up containers – the beauty store sells plastic ones for under $1 each
  • Pure shea butter – you can get it organic at Amazon.com for $5
  • Pure, raw, extra-virgin, organic coconut oil – I got mine on sale at Ross of all places for $5. But you can get that at all kinds of grocery stores or probably online too. Your choice.

How to make the lip balm:

Just melt equal parts shea butter and coconut oil together (in a glass pyrex container, for example) in the microwave or – even better, in a pot on the stovetop – until just melted together. 2 tablespoons of each (2 shea, 2 coconut oil) will make 8 little lip balms.

Lip balm ingredients

Lip balm ingredients

Make sure it’s mixed well after it’s done melting together (stir with a spoon if necessary). Pour liquid into cleaned small containers and carefully put lids on, ensuring you don’t spill the contents. Let the mixture congeal / harden. This takes a few days, so don’t be surprised if it’s not hardened by the next day. Also, make sure to keep these lip balms cool. If they get too warm, it will melt.

This lip balm is supposed to be a good one for night time, so that is when I tend to put it on – just like I put on a special facial cream on at night.

These lip balms make great gifts and are very inexpensive! I gave out several at Christmas!

Ever made your own homemade, health-conscious lip balm? If so, I’d love to hear your recipe!

Lots of Lip Balms!

Lots of Lip Balms!

 

Best Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

Best Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

So, it just got cold here in Northern California and my husband starting wanting soup. Given that I also quickly contracted bronchitis after the temperature drop, I also wanted some hot soup type of food too!

The idea of making turkey chili popped into my head a few days ago, and I began meandering the web for recipes – recipes for the best turkey chili.

I saw many recipes that had elements of what I wanted, but none with everything all-in-one. I finally gave up my search and decided to make my own recipe using what I felt were the exact ingredients needed for a delicious turkey chili!

I must say – it turned out incredibly delicious.

So, without further ado, I am going to share it with you!

Best Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ground turkey (Whole Foods has for $5.99 / lb here, which is much cheaper than their $9.99 / lb beef!)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced (3 large or 5 small)
  • 2 cans Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles (fire-roasted tomatoes make for a nicer flavor and the green chiles in it are perfect for chili!); Whole Foods carries this brand tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce, organic
  • 1 can pinto beans, organic (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can kidney beans, organic (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 t. dried ground cumin
  • 2 t. dried oregano
  • 2 T. chili powder (all these last 3 items are cheapest purchased in bulk at Whole Foods)
  • Pink Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat / saute the onion, garlic, and turkey all together in a large pot, cooking over medium low heat. I recommend cast iron for even heating. If you are using any other kind of pot, you may have to add a little olive oil as needed to prevent sticking.

Once meat is browned on the outside, add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until all ingredients are warmed. The longer you simmer, the better, as it will further meld the flavors.

That’s it! Enjoy thoroughly on cold nights and share it with the ones you love!

 

Make the Best Smoothie EVER!

Make the Best Smoothie EVER!

I am about to give you the recipe for the BEST healthy smoothie imaginable (…and the most versatile, too!)

I have tried a lot of smoothies out there, and this is one of the most tried and true, fail-proof ones. It’s so good, in fact, that one of my friends, a fellow blogger at Highlighted Pink, repeatedly asks me for the recipe and it’s ingredients!

Don’t get me wrong, the Chocolate Cherry Smoothie recipe I shared a while back is completely amazing, too, but I think this one is slightly more adaptable and versatile. Think of this recipe below as a template for your smoothies that you can adjust to your personal tastes. That’s why it’s the best. It is the perfect healthy smoothie recipe that can be used with different kinds of fruits, liquids, and even green powders.

But enough jibberish…let’s get to it!

Best Healthy Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, medium or large size is best (or if small, use 2); ripe bananas are sweeter than unripe!
  • 1/4 cup hemp – use raw hemp powder (Manitoba is a great brand, and more reasonably priced at Vitacost.com than Whole Foods) or use non-ground organic hemp seeds (which I now get at Costco for a similar per serving price point as the hemp powder, but don’t have to worry about the shipping piece). Hemp is your protein powder in this smoothie that is great if you want an option other than soy or dairy protein powder. Hemp powder is my favorite protein powder choice and does not mess with my fickle tummy!
  • 1 cup spinach - I buy the 1 lb. clamshells at Costco for around $3.50 each. That usually lasts me a week.
  • 1 scoop superfood or wheatgrass powder – I used to used the greenfood here, but I don’t think they are even in business anymore, and I have found an cheaper alternative anyway. Costco carries powdered wheatgrass with 90 servings for about $20. Alternatively, I was previously using Amazing Grass Superfood, another very clean superfood and quite tasty, which you can buy on Amazon cheaper than at Whole Foods for about $18 for 30 servings. You can see why I prefer the Costco wheatgrass now…it ends up being nearly 1/3 of the price over time.
  • 1 Tbs. spirulina powder – Starwest is a good brand and $18 for a pound. Should last you a good long while. I would guess my bag lasts me about 3 months. Spirulina is the highest source of plant protein on the planet. Very good stuff and I notice it makes my smoothies more filling, keeping me full longer when I use it. Plus it has a nice “sweet” flavor. I really like it, though I’m not sure everyone does. I crave the stuff and miss it when it’s not in my smoothies.
  • 1 cup frozen fruit, your choice. I mix it up using the different options Costco carries. Sometimes I get a single fruit – such as dark cherries, strawberries, or blueberries – and other times I get a mixed fruit blend, like a tropical-type one ( mango, banana, peach, strawberry) or mixed berry (like strawberry, blackberry, blueberry).
  • 1 cup liquid of choice - I typically use distilled water. It’s cheap, and frankly, the smoothie is already sweet enough for me with the above ingredients. But if you prefer you can use a milk – dairy or non-dairy – or use juice. Sometimes I’ll substitute my standard water for almond milk or orange juice when I have it on hand.
  • 1/4 c. healthy sweetener, optional - if the above ingredients don’t sweeten the smoothie to your tastes, you can always add something like raw honey or agave nectar to the blender.
Smoothie Ingredients

Smoothie Ingredients

Directions

To make your smoothie, simply add the above ingredients to your high-powered blender, like a BlendTec or VitaMix, in the order listed. The order is important here, because you need the softer ingredients at the bottom to blend first and get the smoothie creaming up before it can handle the frozen fruit. One other tip on this, you might have to run your blender a few times to get the smoothie thoroughly mixed. The frozen fruit can take a few cycles to puree, despite the use of a high-powered blender. Alternatively, you can prep the ingredients in the blender 10-15 minutes prior to running it to let the fruit start to thaw a bit. It will make for slightly easier and faster pureeing in your blender. I like to dump the ingredients into the blender in between my morning efforts to get ready and dressed for work. That way they start to warm up before I give them a good blending.

That’s it! Drink or spoon your smoothie out depending on how thick it is. And you can always increase or decrease your liquid to make the smoothie thicker or thinner, respectively.

Let me know how you like this smoothie!

Filipino Eggplant with Egg Dish

Filipino Eggplant with Egg Dish

As many of you know, I have a super fabulous Filipina mother-in-law.

Not only is she super sweet, hospitable, and a woman of great prayer and faith, but she also knows how to cook! Her dishes are strictly Filipino, so I’m learning a lot about both the ingredients and recipes she uses in her cooking. As you can see in the blog post I wrote featuring her, I visited a Filipino grocery store that has many a type of ingredients which were quite new to my American eyes!

As my husband loves her cooking, and is especially partial to the recipes in which she uses eggplant, I recently asked her to show me how to make eggplant her way, trying to learn to make it in a way my husband liked.

She taught me. And my husband says it is just as good as his mother’s. Score.

Here below is the recipe:

Filipino Eggplant with Egg Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 Chinese eggplant or 2 American eggplant (Chinese eggplant are the long skinny, purple and white ones; while a little harder to find in stores, they are better for this dish cause they are softer so they work a bit better sauteed, but the American, larger dark aubergine colored bulbous ones will work fine, too.)
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced - if large cloves, use 3; if small, use 5. You want a nice aromatic garlic smell upon cooking and an identifiable flavor upon eating.
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • Pinch of a healthy salt, I like pink salt as you know, but any salt will do.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, or to taste - gluten-free soy sauce or the similar tasting “tamari” can be found at your local Whole Foods

Directions

Mince garlic and cube eggplant.

Cube Eggplant

Cube Eggplant (this is Chinese eggplant shown here)

Heat saute pan to medium and add 2 Tbs. of your olive oil when the pan is hot. Add garlic and eggplant. Cook on medium. Add the additional olive oil as needed while cooking. Stir the garlic and eggplant every several minutes to prevent it from sticking to the pan.

While the above is cooking, beat eggs together and add a nice pinch of salt. Mix together.

Beat eggs

Beat eggs

Once eggplant is softened, pour over beaten egg and mix thoroughly. It will create a kind of “scrambled egg” coating over your eggplant cubes. Once egg is cooking, pour soy sauce over the mixture.

Serve the dish once the egg appears cooked (cooking the egg only takes a few minutes). This dish is excellent over fresh brown rice.

Good Belly Probiotic Shot

Good Belly Probiotic Shot

I have a new favorite probiotic. It works great and is dairy-free and soy-free (something I value, but not always the case with probiotics).

While I still do love the coconut probiotic at Whole Foods, I have got to say I love this new one just as much.

It’s the “Good Belly” brand, oat-based liquid probiotic “shot” drink you can purchase at Costco. I get it at the Costco on Rengstorff Avenue in Mountain View. It works.

I recently started taking a probiotic again regularly when my IBS-C (constipation-dominant irritable bowel syndrome was flaring up.) I was having a lot of bloating, gas, and constipation that seemed immovable. Ugh. I felt terrible and was not sure what to do.

But then I integrated this probiotic into my routine, taking it first thing in the morning, and voila, my gut calmed way on down within about a week and bowel movements are easily coming out now daily. Delightful.

Only those who have had lots of gut trouble, and specifically constipation, can understand how going Number 2 can make your day more than anything else. It just helps when things “go smoothly” starting in the morning, if you catch my drift.  I feel about as odd posting this openly with this information as I did when I posted about the wonderfully-effective poop stool; but it’s just too effective and important not to share how this probiotic works and is effective.

The Good Belly company even offers a 12-day trial or they will guarantee you your money back. When I saw that upon my first purchase, I figured, what the heck? I’ll give it a shot, and if it works, fine. If it doesn’t – well, you can get your money back. It’s a truly risk-free trial.

It worked. My gut was calmed down quite a lot within about a week, as I mentioned, and I am happily continuing the probiotic to this day.

Oh…and additionally I have had past issues with recurring UTIs (urinary tract infections). One of my doctors told me to take a probiotic regularly, so I’m delighted that this probiotic can help address two health problems with one shot.

Have you tried the Good Belly Oat Probiotic Shots yet? I’d love to hear your experience if so!

Farm Hill Lunch Delivered!

Farm Hill Lunch Delivered … FREE!

How many times have we heard it said, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”

Today, I renounce that statement.

For I have found out about Farm Hill, a company that delivers fresh, healthy lunches to your door in the San Francisco Bay Area (Peninsula to South Bay).

And the first lunch you order is FREE. At least, it is if you email me and I send you the link for it (as long as this deal is available from them, or until my offer expires…whichever comes first). As far as I can tell there is absolutely no catch. That’s why you should take them up on this offer!

As you can see from the photo above, here is the “Paleo Classic” lunch I ordered today…for free.

Many of their lunches run around $9.95. That’s not bad for this area (if you decide to start using their service after your first free). And the chicken is antibiotic-free, hormone-free, and non-GMO fed. YESsss.

You can’t see it in this picture, but I also got this amazing tahini sauce which I dipped the chicken strips in. Yum!

There were also 2 small pieces of dried fruit as well.

The kale and zucchini salads were delicious – a lot better than they looked in photos online. Loaded with flavor and not too much nor too little dressing.

Farm Hill covers much of the Peninsula here in the Bay Area – from about San Mateo (northern most point) down to the South Bay (including San Jose). They go roughly as far west as the 280 (except they don’t cover Los Altos, a bummer cause that’s where I work…but I just had them meet me at my apartment in Mountain View, since that area is covered.)

And, they’ll bring it to you at a business or residential address.

Once you get an email link from me with the offer for a free lunch, you just register online (which takes mere second), then choose your lunch and your 30-minute window drop off time.

They came pretty much right in the middle of my 30-minute window, which was great.

So what are you waiting for? Email me at lisa@livingshalom.com to claim your free lunch!

Seasonal Specials

Seasonal Specials

I’ve recently discovered an additional way for how to save money on groceries. A few of the local open-air, year-round produce markets, like the Milk Pail I referenced a few weeks back, are perfect options for this strategy:

Buy items marked down on “Special.”

Stores who need to move produce out before it’s too old may mark down items to a lower price point for quick sale. Or, if it’s the Milk Pail, it could be cheeses or canned / jarred goods that even make the specials list!

This is the moment YOU can benefit greatly…the moment of the “Specials.”

Today, I scored the following on “Special” – low fixed prices for pre-packaged chunks of produce:

  • Organic bananas
  • Organic eggplant
  • Red bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Purple Cauliflower
  • Yukon style potatoes (not show in photo because I’d already opened and washed them!)

Each package of my produce was a flat rate of $1.99 each.

That means I got all of the above for right around $12. Not bad.

I weighed the bananas at the store to see what the price came to per pound. It was a little over 50 cents per pound. As you might recall, I posted about the best price on bananas previously. Organic bananas at Whole Foods now run around $1 / lb. and the lesser expensive Costco bananas lately failed me because they remained green and never ripened correctly (a disappointment, despite their lower 66 cent / lb. price point).

So this pack of 50 cent / lb. organic bananas was a smashing deal ripe for the picking!

You might be thinking, “Yeah, but Lisa, how am I going to make sure I use all that produce before it spoils, especially if it’s already pretty ripe?”

Here are 3 Ways to Make the Most of Grocery Store Specials:

(1) Cook the vegetables. I did such tonight for my husband, which included roasted potatoes, steamed purple cauliflower, and a mixed vegetable saute. For a basic vegetable saute recipe, simply put some oil in a hot pan, toss in minced garlic, chopped onion, chopped veggies of choice (I used red bell peppers and eggplant) and let it cook on medium until all is softened, and season with soy sauce. Voila! Veggie saute.

(2) Juice the produce. It’s a great way to get in vitamins via juicing at a lower than typical price point for your homemade juice. I’ll likely do that with the extra red peppers and cucumbers that my husband and I don’t consume within the next few days.

(3) Freeze some. Bananas freeze particularly well and are great for future smoothies – a delicacy I make for myself almost every morning. And all my smoothies almost ALWAYS include a banana. Why? Because it really helps provide a nice creamy consistency to the smoothie that I think is lacking if you skip it. Almost all good smoothies require a banana in my opinion. And if I’m going to eat that many bananas, why not freeze up the ripe, cheap ones on “Special?” And so I shall! And did!

As you can see in the picture below, just peel the bananas and put them in a ziploc baggie for freezing. It’s a simple as that. Then grab one out of the bag when you are ready to use it.

Freezing Bananas

Freezing Bananas

Note: frozen bananas also make a good snack with the flax almond butter recipe mentioned here. Simple slice the bananas with a knife and dip the pieces into your nut butter mixture. It’s pretty darn good. My husband liked it so much he started eating off my plate and I ended up preparing more since he was enjoying it so much!

Do you get produce on “Special” at your local store? If so, what do you like to do with it?

Not long ago, I recall thinking to myself how I despise – no, I LOATHE – Walmart.

It’s an extremely stressful experience for me every time I set foot in that place (unless I’m with someone else who helps take the edge off merely by their distracting presence).

I hate Walmart.

Long lines – even at the self-checkout!

People everywhere…too many people for the space…all there at the same time. All the time!!!

Too much stuff bombarding you everywhere you turn…

The Returns line snaking around and hanging out like a long nasty tail, reminding you that $5 item you need to return might not be worth your time in line. And even when you come at an “off” time, the snaking line is still that long!!

Ugh.

I had just come to the conclusion that Walmart was a necessary evil. For what other option did I have for cheaply purchasing some of my necessary basics?

But then…shortly after I had come to that conclusion…

I discovered an alternative:

The Dollar Tree.

Everything's A Dollar

Everything’s A Dollar

“The Dollar Tree?!?” you may be asking with dripping skepticism.

Well, I would have thought the same. The dollar stores I had been to in North Carolina pretty much sold a bunch of junk, junk, junk as far as I could tell.

Regular trips to that kind of store seemed pointless.

I don’t know if it is because my eyes have been enlightened to now see the value of Dollar Tree, or because the Dollar Tree near me is better here in California, or because it is so ridiculously expensive to live out here that I got more creative on how to save money.

Who knows?

All I know is I’m saving money and reducing my stress by shopping there and not at Walmart anymore.

I found a viable solution to Walmart! HIP HIP HOORAY!!! NO MORE WALMART!!!

Think of it! For all your necessary, annoyingly required items that you probably are going to buy conventional anyway – like paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, ziploc baggies, greeting cards, eye make up remover, ice trays, stationery cards, gift bags, and more – just go to Dollar Tree!

I am so relieved to know I can still save money while severely limiting my trips to Walmart. I don’t think I’ve been to Walmart for a month now! Glory!

I was going to provide further detail on what you can get at the Dollar Tree but this blog post has an incredibly comprehensive list of the good deals there (and price comparisons with other retailers). This is better than even a list I could create!

Check out that list here and start saving money by shopping at the Dollar Tree!

Dollar Tree Deals

Dollar Tree Deals

Tag Cloud