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Get the most out of your store-bought celery: grow it yourself and other inexpensive kitchen food discoveries.

Published May 14, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

celery leaves drying for aloe vera blog

 

And that was another very easy nearly ‘free’ food I found out about two years ago. Surprisingly my first attempt yielded celery during the first freeze we had last year (before winter set in, that is). Now the celery chutes don’t get terribly huge when going form the container growing method. My first celery stalk growing experience left me with small, slender stalks that were young and still went great in soups and salads. They also froze extremely well.

 

Living on a shoe-string budget is tough and wherever nearly free food can be discovered, grown at home, frozen, dried (think in terms of long-term prepping), or even so insanely easy to re-plant and grow I find myself scratching my head thinking, “Why didn’t I think of this sooner? This is so easy!”

 

And my first celery stalk was chopped off mid-way and sat in a bowl of tap water (before I became wise about the fluoridation) on my kitchen window sill. I didn’t hold out any hope and thought my efforts would be a waste of time. Yes, my celery stalk had to share space with my beloved (although somewhat hearty soil-bankrupt) air purifying airplane/spider plant that’s been the dominant houseplant going on five years. I was surprised when I noticed leafy greens sprouting up from the lopped celery stalk. I can’t remember if I changed out the water or if that’s a necessary thing to do. Since my first celery stalk died during the winter and I had no place to bring it in out of the harsh weather, it didn’t last. Yet, I managed to re-grow enough celery from that first stalk to fill a large zip lock bag and I didn’t need to buy celery at the store for the whole year. When frozen about all celery is good for is using in stir-fry, soups and stews. I never had any success using frozen/ thawed celery in leafy green salads. But frozen celery goes great in my freshly prepared plain cucumber salads which means I don’t slather my cucumbers in any type of oils, mayonnaise, or commercial salad dressings since those don’t agree with my system. I make my own mustard-onion dressing that I will share in this post as well.

 

And a year later, I’ve nearly finished off my entire bag of celery. I haven’t tried to grow any celery stalks in the garden. I like to plant them in patio containers and snip off the stalks as I need them and allow the celery to re-grow more chutes. I have two more celery stalks that I re-grew using distilled water and was surprised when they appeared greener and more heartier. I transplanted those to outdoor containers recently and started on my third celery stalk in distilled water. Hopefully it will grow as well as the others.

 

How to make my onion-mustard cucumber salad dressing:

 

Wash, cut and place green onions in a clean mason jar. I like to use a pair of kitchen shears to snip the onions. And other times I will go out to my garden and cut off a large onion leaf. These are very potent and a little bit goes a long way. I also use the small onion bulb as well and chop that up. Next, I mix equal parts of Dijon and Spicy Brown mustard and add that in with my onions. I stir this concoction and leave it in the fridge while I prepare my cucumber salad.

How to make my cucumber salad (no-dressing or oil variety):

 

Wash, peel and slice up the cucumber if its store bought. Believe me, you don’t want to ingest the wax they use on the veggies. I’ve heard horror stories that the wax used is no different than what they use to wax floors with, Yeesh! And if it’s true, that’s a dirty little inside trick to make veggies appear delicious and ‘preserve’ them, I suppose. If you can grow your own cucumbers and don’t use pesticides, you could skip peeling off the outer skin. Since I don’t use pesticides on my garden for the very reason they can be toxic, I don’t have to worry so much.

 

There’s no wrong way to slice a cucumber. If you like thick slices, got for it. If you prefer small, thin slices, that’s excellent too.

 

Next wash, and slice one or two red tomatoes. Again, if they’re store-bought tomatoes they may have been gassed in order to ‘ripen’ them while their still green, and eating green tomatoes is okay too. Ever hear of the old 80’s movie, Fried Green Tomatoes? Anyways, if your tomatoes are home grown, then your assured of the safety of your own produce. Place the sliced tomatoes and cucumbers in a bowl and set aside. Next slice up some red, white, and yellow onion (if you have any on hand and this is optional). I’m kind of basing this on my late grandma’s recipe but without the dressing. My grandmother used to use white onion cut into rings.

 

I also like to spice things up with a fresh cut Japeno and throw that in with the cucumber and tomatoes and mix some crushed red pepper as well. I then give this salad a soak in a little Apple Cider Vinegar/ distilled bath just for good measure, rinse and return to the bowl. I like to finish off with a few snips of fresh Kale (the yellow blooms will produce a delicate sweet taste, too), Parsley, Chives, Peppermint, Spearmint, Pineapple Sage leaf, one leaf of cabbage and fresh Brussels sprouts (never the canned or frozen variety for me). So technically its not a straight cucumber and tomato salad, rather an actual salad. Eh, sometimes I enjoy a change of pace.

 

What to do with those celery leaves: don’t throw them out! Wash them off really good and dry them. I say this because the cost of buying celery either in seed, salt, or even the crushed leaf variety can be expensive. Since I don’t have a pestle and mortar I can’t grind the leaves  into a powder so it’s the very old-fashioned ‘drying’ method by placing the celery leaves (preferably washed, dried off, and place on a cookie sheet or in my case a pie pan lined with a coffee filter will do. Allow the celery leaves to thoroughly dry for two weeks or a month or so. When they’re completely dry (and some might be curled), then you can store them in a spice jar or use them immediately in soups, stews, stir-fry, etc. I had great success drying two bunches of half priced cilantro for a month and yielded two huge batches to last me a year or better. Cilantro goes great in homemade pico de gallo (Mexican condiment/ salsa).

Hope my shoe string budget kitchen tips help. Thanks for liking, re-blogging, commenting, sharing, tweeting, I truly appreciate it. 🙂

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My homemade skincare/ hair care aloe vera lotion: a how-to guide with step-by-step pictures:

Published May 14, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

It will cost about a dollar or less for the aloe vera leaves depending on your geographical location, and if your supermarket stocks these huge leaves since they might likely be considered a ‘specialty’ item and hard to find/ purchase. I know before we got a new grocery store, I had no idea aloe vera leaves were sold fresh much less grown for their edible purposes as well. In fact, I had never seen a large aloe vera leaf in person until I popped into the new grocer to see what all the hubbub was about. And what I found was some very new and somewhat exotic edibles such as aloe vera and cactus leaves (when boiled cactus leaves are very similar to green beans and freeze well, too) which I’ll blog about here in a little bit in a separate post.

 

Before I spent any money on the aloe vera leaves, I did my research. I scoured youtube to see what others had to say about fresh aloe vera leaves. It turns out I learned of the many benefits of aloe vera and cactus leaves. I had seen whole cactus leaves being sold at some other grocers between $5-7 dollars and you only received two small cactus leaves that you had to then go to the trouble to de-thorn, slice, chop—essentially ‘prep’ the old-fashioned way. I watched several youtube videos on how to cut up a cactus leaf and the thorns fly everywhere even when using a plastic bag and scrapping them with a paring knife. Sounded like a potential whacking off a digit accident waiting to happen.

 

I did more research late at night while waiting for my [then working] off-balance washing machine to finish thrashing another load of laundry. After watching about ten ‘how to’ cut aloe vera leaves and boil cactus leaves youtube videos I decided to give both the aloe vera and cactus leaves a try.

 

Are the aloe vera leaves edible? Yes, the gooey clear gel is edible. However, if the slime is yellow this will act as nature’s laxative and it’s highly recommended to discard the yellow stuff. In small quantities the aloe vera leaf gel can be blended into smoothies, chopped up and frozen for later use for skin application and/or used in DIY olive, coconut, and argan oil hair mask treatments. I even found a use for the aloe vera leaf itself and like to cut it up, bag, label and freeze them for later use when dry shaving my legs or whenever I might need something quick and handy for rubbing on my skin or through my hair to make it soft. I usually run on a very erratic schedule, so yes, there’s going to be prep work involved which should take about 30-35 minutes and you’ll have to set aside time to cut the aloe vera leaves. I find that I can make this aloe vera gel last me about a month (conserving it that is) and stretching it with some steam-treated distilled water. Never use city tap water as that can contain bacteria and other nasties that can’t be filtered out in a city water treatment facility try as they might, plus if the city fluoridates their water or its hard water that’s really yucky!

 

“Make sure it’s steam-treated [distilled water], not the other kind,” That was sound advice from my dear dad a year ago. He’s been a health nut long before I was ever born.

 

Here’s the steps I use for making my homemade aloe vera lotion. Oh, and this must be kept in the fridge or else it will go rancid if sitting out since there’s no preservatives whatsoever when I make my aloe vera lotion.

aloe leaves for hair care

Step one: Wash the aloe vera leaf with some distilled water (never tap water) to give it a quick rinse. Drying the aloe vera leaf isn’t necessary unless you want to do this extra step.

aloe vera step2

Step two: Make sure you have a bowl or other container ready. I find that placing a bowl in the kitchen sink helps and I just scrape the gooey goodness into it from the cutting board. Use a serrated knife and a cutting board as well. Also, be extremely careful when slicing these aloe vera leaves. The gooey stuff is slimy and will be the consistency of egg yoke and it gets over everything and makes work surfaces and the knife you’re using very slippery. So, do exercise caution when cutting the aloe vera leaves with a sharp knife and take your time.

aloe vera step 3

Step three: I like to cut off the tip and end and discard those in my compost container that I plan to empty into my garden. Next, I slice downward to remove the prickly thorny sides of the aloe vera leaf. Sometimes they’ll yield a very tiny amount of clear gooey stuff and I’ll cut those into slices and place them in my freezer bag for later use. When I can help it I don’t like to discard a lot of stuff until I get as much use from it as humanly possible.

aloe vera step 4

Step four: Transfer the clear gooey stuff from the bowl and pour it into the blender. Blenders will vary and I like to start blending with the ice crushing option, then whip and puree. At this point the clear aloe vera gel should turn frothy and foamy. This is normal and the foam will settle. To make this stretch further I also pour in about half a cup of distilled water and blend it some more. Again, this will turn foamy and it will settle. I then make sure my aloe vera jar is handy and fill it. After screwing the cap on it I like to give the contents a good shake then place it in the fridge.

 

Shelf life of my homemade aloe vera lotion is about one week in the fridge. However, I’ve been able to make my aloe vera lotion last for about two weeks even a month if I’m conservative with it and haven’t noticed it going rancid in the fridge. And always whenever I remember I will pick up one or two aloe vera leaves and store them in my fridge until I need one this way I have a constant stock of them on hand. And look for the discounts. Sometime aloe vera leaves will be sold by the red tape bundle at a discount if they’re wilted. This I’ve discovered doesn’t matter much to me since I don’t use the wilted aloe vera leaves for smoothies. I use the wilted aloe vera leaves for my skin and hair care lotions. I use the good aloe vera leaves for the smoothies which I seldom make except once-in-a-while due to their cleansing/ detoxing properties.

aloe vera step 5

Step five: pour the aloe vera lotion in a glass jar. I have heard that plastic containers can leach out chemicals into food and drinks so I re-use a 10 ounce glass green olive jar for my homemade aloe vera lotion (pictured).

 

Hope this how-to tutorial helps for my fresh homemade aloe vera lotion. I never use any preservatives when making this. When it settles it will feel like a raw egg when applying it to the hair and skin. But no need to panic, the skin absorbs the aloe vera gel rather fast and leaves your skin feeling velvety smooth. Sometimes there might be some gel sediment that adheres to the skin and hair. I use a soft-bristle natural foot brush to whisk this from my skin and hair. When applied to the hair (a little bit goes a long way), wrap your hair in a silk or cotton scarf or any soft large light-weight material will do and keep it on for an hour, then remove the scarf and gently comb your fingers through your dry hair. Doing this step after you’ve washed and towel-dried your hair works great and makes your hair feel extremely soft and gives it some shine. I found this to be a huge relief since my area is hard water. And since I quit exposing my hair to all the fluoridated city water recently, I noticed my hair is not as limp, weighed down, greasy or unhealthy or ‘unwashed’ in appearance. Also, I don’t wash my hair daily into overkill like I once used to do years ago and saturate my poor hair strands to chemically-laden shampoos and conditioners (whatever was cheap at one time). I also re-use my fresh fruit/ fresh veggie distilled rinse water and make my own Camomile sun tea on occasion to give some high lights to my hair. Other times I keep a large pickle jar in the fridge filled with part distilled and bottled drinking water (supposedly non-fluoridated when I checked).

DO NOT use a plastic comb to brush out your hair when applying this aloe vera gel into your hair. Sometimes it will leave microscopic gel balls that can tangle the hair, so go easy when brushing your hair. This hair care process shouldn’t be rushed as I found out in my early trial and errors.

Recently, I’ve heard from many folks that strive to grow out their hair and keep it healthy advise to ditch the plastic hair brushes and combs completely, and if at all possible, do not wash your hair with city water unless you have a water purifier/ filtration system that can filter out heavy metals, contaminants and some traces of fluoride. Another hair care top: opt for boar hair bristle hair brushes/combs. And those are difficult to find unless they’re antique. I saw a ‘made in China’ boar hair shower brush at Big Lots a while back, but inset in the middle of it was a chunk of plastic as a faux loofah sponge. I’ll pass thank you very much even though I realize getting rid of all plastics out of my life is nearly impossible although little by little I am making snail pace strides to natural vegan materials as I can afford to do so.

When I need to brush my hair I use an itty bitty antique celluloid comb. The rest of the time I use my antique hair/ clothing brushes since they were made during the 1850’s/ 1900’s and have real hair bristles (not nylon even though it was produced back in this time frame). Since using the antique hair/ clothing brushes to brush my hair vs. using plastic hair brushes has made a huge difference. I haven’t dealt with many tangles when brushing my hair after it’s completely dry, that is. And I haven’t felt any knots or painful tangles in my hair either like I used to get often when using a plastic brush and comb. And I quit combing my hair while its still wet. This is when the hair is most fragile and elastic-like. It can snap, strands can fall out (often referred to hair fall out) when brushed wet, tangle and knot like it’s nobody’s business, and did I mention all of it painful if you have a sensitive scalp? It is.

Thanks for re-blogging, liking, commenting, sharing, tweeting and especially to all of my subscribers. I truly appreciate your likes, shares, etc.! 🙂

I’ll be posting some budget gourmet kitchen how-to goodies from how to grow your own celery on your kitchen window sill, drying your own spices from fresh store-bought/ patio-grown herbs, making cinnamon-flavored toothpicks, and my almost “sugar free” dessert. 😀

 

 

 

 

Aloe Vera leaves, scarves for soft, luxurious hair and Chinese chopsticks: how I discovered some remarkable benefits for the least amount of money.

Published May 10, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

Okay, I admit, it still costs money to buy these things to get started if you don’t have them around your house. However, since I’m always cramming my cranium with more knowledge about health benefits, pros vs. cons using everyday commercial hair care products that I grew up with my entire life and studying up on tons of articles out there both in print (freebie magazines from the health food store and via the internet and Farmer’s Almanac). I used to read the Farmer’s Almanac religiously when it was inexpensive years ago. An issue nowadays will cost $6.97… ouch! And along the way I discovered some fascinating healthy tidbits in my own pursuit of continuing my good health and overall well-being, especially from the of the dusty antique pages of my beloved set of late natural path Bernarr Macfadden Physical Culture encyclopedia. Now, I’m not saying this man is god. His methods and remedies, although outdated by today’s standards, may seem very far out there in left field, but the knowledge he presented (and updated from time to time clear into the 1940s) I find to be highly invaluable and educational. And it was Bernarr Macfadden who essentially opened my eyes to a healthier lifestyle. I also have a copy of his book written specifically for women that includes tailored exercises of the day, ditching the corset, health(ier) clothing choices although plastics weren’t invented yet when this book was written and a host of other information.

And I wanted more than just the egg hair rinse. I began my new hair care routine with the natural and health benefits of the aloe vera leaf. Sure, you can buy an itty bitty spindly aloe plants at Lowe’s on their discount/ distressed plant shelf for about $4 or maybe even at your local grocer for an astronomical amount for a little plant containing three puny leaves that look half dead… and let’s face it, unless you live in an arid, hot year-round climate, then growing your own aloe vera in your backyard for harvesting is nearly impossible to do in cold climates unless maybe if you bring it indoors for the winter. Believe me, I tried keeping small aloe vera plants alive indoors and just didn’t have the right terrarium atmosphere for them to survive. And then again, I only knew as much as my pre-Internet knowledge allotted me back in the day. I understood that aloe vera are desert loving plants and that’s was about it. And I knew back then the juice from a snippet of aloe leaf did wonders for burns, bruises and minor cuts. However, I didn’t come to realize just how beneficial these plants truly are until just a few months back. I live in an area that do stock aloe vera leaves (huge leaves at that). However, sometimes I can find two or even three large aloe leaves bundled for 40 cents-80 cents in the reduced merchandise cooler. Even if the aloe vera leaves look a little expired, I still find that they come in useful for my skin and hair regimen since I don’t consume the juice in smoothies.

 

And what are the health benefits? For starters, the aloe vera juice extracted from a leaf when applied to a burn, minor cuts or even scrapes helps promote healing. But did you know you can also cut open the aloe vera leaf of that clear slimy substance and whip it up in a blender to use straight as a natural skin and hair softner?  Yep, and it feels baby soft to the touch from my personal experience, gives natural luster to the hair follicle, again based on my experience, and when added in with fruit and veggie smoothies packs a lot of vitamins and antiseptics. In actuality the extracted aloe vera gooey stuff has no taste whatsoever. The kind that is produced in the bottles is oversaturated with nasty sugars.

 

It is advised to avoid consuming the yellow-ish aloe vera gooey substance because this acts like nature’s fast acting laxative. And when adding in aloe vera juice to a smoothie, do so sparingly as suggested by some health advocates and avid juicers due to a laxative effect. Also, the leaves I have found to be of use long after I remove the gooey clear substance. I like to cut the leaves in chunks and then freeze them for use later on and scrape the remaining gooey substance and use that to shave my legs with (makes the skin velvety smooth when dry shaving) and it feels excellent after a hard day working outside in the heat as well.

 

The shelf life of aloe vera juice when blended into a frothy foam that settles in the container can be stored in the fridge up to one week. I have heard from many women who also add in olive oil and coconut oil for their hair care routines, but if you hate the greasy weighed down feel it might produce, avoid using these oils entirely. It’s all about personal preference though. Personally, I found the DIY coconut oil and olive oil leave-in hair treatments to soften and restore damaged hair make my hair look and feel really gross as though I haven’t washed it in many months. And it doesn’t help living in a hard water area with nasty, industrial waste fluoride treatments, either. And it took several repeated ACV washings to get said oils out of my hair. I have alternated with the no shampoo, or “no-poo” trials with not so impressive results, either. My hair doesn’t look dirty or anything, but it’s either dry or brittle as a result even though I refrain from using shampoos and conditioners. I do, however, find that washing in city water isn’t helpful at all. I find that I’m literally at my wits end trying to get rid of the chemicals out of my life, especially when it comes to finding a shampoo that doesn’t contain Dimetheicone and its many sneaky aliases which is a polymer silicone and used in a wide array of hair products, skin care products, etc. and I believe I when doing some extensive and exhaustive night owl reading and research into this chemical is also classified as toxic according to the EWG (Environmental Watch Group). Dimetheicone also belongs to the polymeric organosilicon compounds (silicone). It is also used as an antifoaming agent, skin protectant, and skin conditioner. It is also approved for use in food as well. Eww, I’ll pass on that second helping of mystery pie. Here are Dimetheicone’s many different aliases:

 

DIMETHICONE COPOLYOL; DIMETHYL SILICONE; HIGHLY POLYMERIZED METHYL POLYSILOXANE; METHYL POLYSILOXANE; SILICONE L-45; DC 1664; DIMETHICONE 350; DIMETICONE; DOW CORNING 1664; MIRASIL DM 20; VISCASIL 5M.

 

Whew! Now that’s a long list to add to my shopping list of no-no’s. Moving along… the aloe vera leaf has many healthy properties. I heard it might help with anti-aging although I’m a firm believer we all grow ‘old’ gracefully and that is a fact of life. No amount of beauty creams and downright overpriced anti-aging concealers and beauty ‘add-ons’ that are pushed onto us women will amount to much, except perhaps do the exact opposite of what the products promise and could, for example, maybe exacerbate the natural aging process and help it along rather than magically ‘fix’ something that  isn’t broke. I also go by the philosophy, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

 

I noticed first hand the benefits of using pure aloe vera after the first week of using it like lotion. I’m not talking about the chemically-laden fake aloe vera that comes loaded with man made sugars in a 10 gallon oil drum for $1.80 at Big Lot’s. Okay, I exaggerated on the 10 gallon oil drum serving. I think it was more like 32 ounces, but still—that’s sugar overkill if you ask me. I don’t even use sugar in my evening/ morning beauty routine, although I have heard it makes the skin soft and so does pure raw honey. But skin can also absorb the sugars just the same.

 

I like to use straight aloe vera juice and go through one leaf per two weeks (when I can stretch it that far). It does wonders when your hair is damp and you’re drying it naturally (without heat of a hair dryer). I also wrap my damp hair in a soft cotton and/ or silk long scarf and let it completely dry. Using long scarves as in place of a bath towel or hair dryer to dry the hair I stumbled upon quite by accident and I highly credit a youtuber Steph Arizona for using scarves when applying hair masks to prevent it from dripping all over the place and also for throwing out some helpful advice on what to do with all those plastic grocery sacks that can accumulate like dust bunnies around the house. The grocery sacks make really good ‘one use only’ improvised shower caps and you’ll save a few bucks as well.

 

So, I gave some of Steph’s hair care tips a try and went at it with a somewhat skeptical approach at first since most of these DIY hair masks never worked for me in the past. I tried the coconut milk hair mask Steph uploaded on her youtube channel and individual results will vary. Therefore, I wasn’t discouraged when it didn’t work for me. I was only out $1.25. But I didn’t like the chemical they sneak into the Polar brand of Organic Coconut milk that I purchased wasn’t a natural ingredient and the actual coconut content didn’t amount to much. My result was my hair was very weighed down, limp and felt like it had a thick film on it that wasn’t easy to wash out even with repeated ACV (apple cider vinegar) rinses and followed up with a full strength distilled white vinegar rinse with distilled water.

Although it did make my hair look shiny and silky, it was a huge mess to wash out. I then tried Steph’s ‘rice milk’ hair mask. Although, here again I didn’t allow my rice to ferment for three days (I believe that’s what she recommended) so I didn’t notice much of a difference in my hair. And mind you I did these hair mask recipes two weeks apart to give my hair some rest. What I didn’t do was reach for the Mane and Tail conditioner or the even the vegan shampoo (found at Sally’s Beauty Supply). However, even though its listed as vegan the shampoo is still loaded with chemicals in extremely small print, so you’ll need to carry a jeweler’s loop on your person to read these ingredients on the bottle. So I only reserve the vegan shampoo when the olive oil and coconut oil hair mask blunders made my hair greasy, albeit shiny. Also, I had some success with an avocado hair mask mixed with some aloe vera juice in place of shampoo.

 

But since doing the scarves for the hair mask recipes, I do strongly urge to make careful buying choices when shopping for scarves. I admit I buy mine from thrift shops and often times they don’t have tags listing the fabric content. Sounds icky to buy second-hand stuff but if you add a little bleach to the wash (before you put your laundry in), this helps and believe me, anywhere I can save money, I opt for that and leave the big box retailers and online shops alone.

 

Also, when purchasing used scarves for these hair masks I made quite a few ‘disastrous DIY infinity scarf’ shopping blunders, not ‘buyer’s remorse’ per se since I didn’t know said scarves weren’t wide enough, but instead thin, long and slapped together likely by a newbie to using a thimble, needle, and thread (hand stitched in most cases, not that that’s a bad thing). Most of these disastrous homemade infinity scarves I do happen across are less than $1. Sometimes they’ll set me back 49 cents here and there. And if there’s a tag attached to the scarf look for silk and/ or cotton. If its polyester this is spun plastic. And rayon is even worse yet since it’s a chemical that can leech out toxins.

 

Oh, and some helpful buying advice: always look for the tag and read the label for the fabric content. This threw me off a few times since the scarves would lack their tags and feel like soft cotton, when instead they were still stretchy, clingy, and made of either nylon, rayon, and viscose fabrics. Since I did some major spring cleaning yesterday, cleaned out my overburdened closets and donated ten large bags today, I got rid of nearly all of my clothing that not only no longer fit me, but also contained polyester, rayon (which is a toxic chemical and potential carcinogen that can seep into your skin), and nearly all nylons (including hose, trouser socks, trousers, and tank tops). This included many of the scarves that I just recently purchased for my hair mask treatments and natural hair drying.

 

Then what is advisable to wear in place of all these synthetic fabrics? And what if you have extremely sensitive skin? Then what? Look at the tag in the clothing and/ or scarves before you buy them. And do TRY on the clothes before you buy them. I am a repeat offender of ‘assuming it will fit’ mentality, when in fact, it’s the opposite in some cases and it make not look good on me or it make look fantastic on the dress form, but too small around the bust or too large around the waist, etc. And why is this a ‘one size fits all’ society all the sudden nowadays?! Aw, man!

 

I hauled ten trash bags crammed full of clothing and that outgrew me since I lost weight and changed my diet for better and made (hopefully healthier) eating choices for myself in the long run. I’m almost completely vegan now, except I do eat the occasional hard-boiled eggs about once a month. So if I were to say I was full vegan, then it would make me a hypocrite. I am a full vegetarian though and don’t consume meat, chicken, pork, or even hamburger. I don’t even do those ‘veggie burgers’ since here again its all highly processed foods on my ‘no-no’ list.

 

And what does this have to do with Chinese chopsticks? Well, aside from wanting to learn how to use a pair of chopsticks (that’s on my bucket list of things to learn how to do eventually when consuming rice), I also found a new pair of wooden chopsticks today for 29 cents and they were a lucky thrift store find. There’s nothing special about them and they’re not fancy or anything. When I opened the package I was slightly disheartened to see a few splinters so I designated these pair of chopsticks as hair sticks. Hunh? Hair sticks to hold your bun in place. I found some beautiful, elaborate //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=antiquemystiq-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00RHL8XR2&asins=B00RHL8XR2&linkId=89fc8d0b469478d24b773175273788f6&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>hair sticks on Amazon. So, I did a quick skim on youtube for tutorial hair stick videos and used one of the chopsticks to draw my hair in a bun and let it completely dry.

 

I used to keep my hair in a bun all the time back in my younger days with plastic hair clips before I fully understood that plastics are bad for the environment, etc. and keeping my hair in a bun constantly used to give some natural curls to my hair when I let it down so I wouldn’t have to kill my poor [then] chemically treated dyed hair or submit it to harsh hair spray. I used to be a fan of Aqua Net ‘concrete’ super hold hair spray back in the 90’s and that’s how we younger women got that ‘big hair’ look. Back then we called it, “teasing our hair” since the term ‘big hair’ didn’t come into vogue until about, oh… let me think here, around 2008 when I first heard of the term, that and the saying “big hair bands”. We simply used to call our beloved rock stars “hair bands” back in the day and not to be confused with the pony tail holders.

 

So, I’m trying out the chopstick bun in my hair as I write this and will give an update later on. I have a very tough day ahead of me and I need to get some beauty sleep. Oh, and I haven’t packed my lunch, either. I was more pre-consumed with food prepping earlier this evening and making space in my fridge for my leftovers of mashed potatoes mixed with red and yellow onion, fresh broccoli, and Chia seeds and my one pot meal of tri-color Rotini (spinach and tomato variety) without the added man made ‘enriched’ junk. I will post my mashed potato recipe for anybody that might be interested. It’s simple and takes a few minutes of food prep work, but so filling and good after a long day of running one’s legs off. I always say a hot meal, iced herbal tea (not the cheap instant teas), and some dessert of cut up fresh banana, strawberry drizzled with homemade chocolate sauce using Baker’s Unsweetened Baking chocolate bar, two tea spoons of raw honey and a few Carbo unsweetened chips is a real treat! As always thanks for reading, liking, commenting, re-blogging, tweeting, etc. I always truly appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Eating Healthy: My Daily Routine.

Published January 26, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

I wanted to share with you a healthy habit to get into. And if you’re already doing so, then great! 🙂

I know– I know, groan all you want. Sigh and roll your eyes. Tell me to my face I can’t possibly know the first thing about eating right since after all, I’m just your average woman out there living on a tight income. I’m not a licensed dietitian. I’m not a physical fitness trainer nor am I a certified life coach. But what I do have to offer is a great way to get started on a path to good health and it might even eliminate some bad habits along the way. And if you chose to stick with it (its a preference, not an order), then you’ll begin to see results.

I don’t believe in pumping my body full of diet pills just to achieve desired results. In fact, I believe those are highly dangerous and some have even caused death (think of that Fin-Fin).

This is like a nutrition ‘meal planner.’ Yep, I pre-plan everything I’m going to eat and prepare it the night before or even set aside time a week before and spend three days preparing my own meals on a budget. Pre-planning can save time, be extremely handy when in a hurry or when arriving home dead tired on your feet after a long day at work.

And eating healthy is just a start. When I get up I put on a pot of water. While its heated I remove my container of oats. I begin my day like anybody else, except I take things slow. I don’t get in a hurry. If I had roses to stop and smell, I do that too. I  don’t distract myself with a blaring TV or radio. The house is silent. The computer is kept off. I shower, then get dressed. I return to my boiling water and fill a coffee cup part water/ part oats. As that cools, I add in some Nature Nate’s Raw Honey and go make my bed and tidy up and get ready to head out.

My stuff like winter gloves, hat and scarf, receipt book, odometer notebook and pens are already packed in my bag so is my music. I snag a hard-boiled egg, peel off the shell and eat it with some salt. I wash it down with either steam-treated distilled water (some times seltzer water), and eat my oatmeal. I shut off the burner and when I’m done eating, brush and floss my teeth.

For lunch I might have a kale and avocado spread sandwich on home made Pretzel bread and a handful of unsalted almonds (high in natural vitamin E) and a cutie (small orange) or similar fresh fruit (never canned or pre-packaged fruit cups).

For supper my one pot meal awaits in the fridge. I either have pea, steamed potato and ham soup, or I thaw a batch of home made chicken broth, add in a piece of chicken and simmer it for two hours on medium heat, then add in some dried peas and whole wheat wide noodles. I check on it and add in water as needed. I clean house, do laundry, and fold and put away clothes. I sweep and vacuum, and when I’m done, the rich aroma of a home made stew fills my cozy house. I bring in my cat and feed her a spoon of Tuna along with her dry cat food. She’s happy as long as I’m the center of her universe. Sometimes she’ll claim the recliner and curl up and sleep for hours. I eat supper, wash up the dishes and wipe down the stove and counter tops.

My meal plan is as follows:

Mornings: Oatmeal and raw honey (in winter), one hard-boiled egg, one banana. In the summer: one hard boiled egg, one banana. I try to eat at least within the first 30 minutes after getting up. This helps to boost metabolism.

Lunch: Sandwich using home made avocado spread and/or soup/ stew or boiled Pollock fish or Salmon (if its on sale) and rice, steamed asparagus, green beans or corn, and a potato (make sure to poke holes in the potato or else it will explode. Do this especially if you plan to have a baked potato).

Supper: This is generally the ‘heaviest’ meal of my day. It can vary depending on what I have on hand. I’ll either have stews, soups, chicken (as the main meat), a veggie, a potato, and for dessert, an apple and peanut butter. Sometimes I forgo the apple and peanut butter and eat a small custard-cup serving of mixed frozen fresh fruit that’s been pre-washed, sorted and bagged. Other times I might make Jack Straw Tuna Casserole and bake it in a 350 degree oven for about 15 mins 20 mins.

How to make Jack Straw Tuna Casserole:

One can of Tuna (drained) and dumped into baking dish. Or, if you prefer, you can always use one can of Salmon or canned chicken with the gross stuff drained off and rinsed in distilled water. The thing about Tuna is that it contains mercury, so you may want to eat this once-in-a-while. And this same heavy metal is also found in most fish as well.

One potato washed, peeled, and cut into shoe-string length. Add those in with the tuna and add in some water. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Sometimes I’ll make this using hot dogs and sauerkraut, and shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Tuna is optional and so are the hot dogs. It’s very rare I do eat hot dogs on a regular basis simply because they are so full of chemicals and they are very unhealthy. The more chemicals you can keep out of your body, the better you’ll feel.

Put some tin foil on the baking dish, set the timer for about 15-20 mins. and place the casserole in the oven to bake. Make sure to use a half cup of water so it doesn’t burn. For a variation Feta cheese is also good as a topping as well in this recipe.

During the summer I rarely heat up the house using the oven and prefer to either steam the heck out of my veggies and chicken dishes, or just boil them in water. I never use any cooking oil and don’t make or consume fried, greasy foods either. It may sound like a plain boring diet, but its what helped me lose a lot of weight and keep it off.

I don’t own a juicer yet. Rather I do blend my fresh produce like kale, fruit, strawberries, bananas, apples, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and add in a small amount of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. I also like to use half a cup of steam-treated distilled water and/ or Hiland Drinking water (bought at Dollar General). I blend all of the ingredients using grind, whip and puree on my blender, and when its too my liking (thickness-wise like a fruit Smoothie), I pour it into freezer bags, label them and store them in the freezer for future use. The shelf life of this in the freezer is about one month or until the bananas begin to brown then you know its time to toss it.

The avocado spread is made much the similar way using just enough water not to make it soupy but keep it like a thick sauce texture, some lemon juice (spices optional: rosemary, black pepper, Cayenne pepper, Kosher salt, onion powder or fresh sliced white onion about two strips) and freeze it if its not going to be eaten right away. Shelf life of avocado spread in the freezer is 3-5 months. Thereafter it must be pitched out if not consumed by then. I always like to thaw the avocado spread in the fridge overnight so it’s ready for me when I get up.

The home made pretzel bread I make has to be either frozen or refrigerated. Other times I’ll make Welsh Rarebit for a snack. I did happen across Welsh Rarebit when skimming through my 1890s cookbook and wanted to share it:

Welsh Rarebit:
16 (1/3-inch-thick) diagonal bread slices
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup porter or ale
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large egg yolk

I usually omit the butter, and all-purpose flour and use whole wheat flour instead. I would assume the bread slices are put on a plate and then the Welsh Rarebit is served over it kind of like an open face sandwich. Also, I skip the port and ale and leave out the milk. This is just my personal preference. With the other ingredients in the Welsh Rarebit, you’ll want to mix these and bring them to a low simmer over medium heat stirring constantly so it won’t stick or burn. Once thickened, remove from burner and serve over the bread. Goes great with a little bit of Feta cheese on top and a side of green beans.

I also have a recipe for my no yeast Pretzel bread:

• 3 cups whole wheat flour (preferably stone ground)
• 4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1⁄2 cups rice milk (works with any liquid) or 1 1⁄2 cups water (works with any liquid)
• 1⁄4 cup liquid fat (i.e. melted milk free margarine, vegetable oil, olive oil)
Directions
1. Mix dry ingredients.
2. Do not sift the flour!
3. Mix liquids and add to dry.
4. Stir until there is no more dry flour.
5. Depending on the humidity of the air where you live you may need a little bit more or less liquid.
6. The dough should be moist but not sticky.
7. It may take a few minutes for the flour to fully absorb the liquid, so don’t rush to add liquid or flour to it.
8. Score lightly the surface in a diamond or X shape to prevent splitting of the crust.
9. This is a country style bread that should be sliced thick.
10. It is important not to overwork the dough.
11. Shape into a ball or an oval, with oiled hands.
12. Place on clean baking sheet.
13. Bake for 40 minutes at 400°F.

Remove bread when done, and brush on a mixture of water and baking powder. Sprinkle with Pretzel salt and return to heated oven for about 5 mins. Take out and let cool on a wire cookie rack. Sometimes the loaf will stick to the bread pan so make sure to oil it with Coconut oil or similar if you’re using cooking oil. This bread comes out hard and crusty on the top, moist and spongy on the inside. Cut into slices (this is hard to do without a bread knife, but can be done), then put into bread sacks or zip lock bags and place it the freezer or fridge. If you place this bread in the fridge be sure to consume it within less than a week. Since there are no additives, this bread doesn’t contain all the chemicals that store bought bread does to keep it from getting moldly. This home made bread also sets better and is more dense (not light as air like all commercial store-bought breads are) and you won’t get hungry afterwards since it won’t contain any MSG Mono Sodium Glutamate = ‘natural flavors’ or artificial “your guess is as good as mine” ingredients.

It might take awhile to notice any results when breaking free from chemically processed foods and switching over to an all natural, raw fruits, veggies and home made meals diet since everybody is different. If you can cut out the sugar (sugary drinks, bagged sugars, candy, and sweetners) you’ll soon discover a HUGE, (I mean massive) increase in energy and libido. Your body will thank you and your spiritual, mental, and emotional well being will love you for it. Not only will you feel great, but you’ll see it physically.

Another helpful tip: start by keeping a weight diary. (This helps, trust me). Weigh yourself each morning after you get up first thing. And don’t eat or drink anything. If you do, that’s okay too. Usually you weigh less in the morning than you would at night. I generally like to take my weight twice (once without a stitch of clothes on), and one weight reading with clothes on including shoes for better accuracy. I always jot down my weight nowadays and the date.

When I began my raw veggies/ fresh fruit about three years back, I didn’t keep a weight diary. And I really should have. I weighed 132 pounds back in 2014, and for a woman of such a small size, I would consider that morbidly obese and I’m not even a medical doctor. Surprisingly throughout my past regular and even yearly exams nobody ever brought up my weight to me. I didn’t gain that weight until I was in my late twenties (27-28) and it just stuck with me since my ex would cook in grease. Everything was grease and he’d swear by it was the only way to cook. I used to drink soda like a fish back then, ate very unhealthy processed foods and by the time I was in my early 30s I hated how I looked and felt. I know what did it for me was when I undergone my emergency gallbladder surgery at 35 and that was my wake up call. And had I not heeded that handsome surgeon’s advice about having the emergency surgery, I wouldn’t be here blogging.

I began to see results almost one week after I cut out soda completely. But mind you I began to do this slowly over time once I healed from my gallbladder surgery completely. Then I stopped baking with sugar. And then I really saw results! I slowly, but surely I eliminated all boxed dinners, processed foods, junk foods, candy, gum, and at the last even tea. I will eat sunflower seeds and chew on toothpicks.

Nowadays I make my own steeped tea boiling water and adding in two fresh frozen cranberries. Other times I will raid my Hosier cabinet for my dried Peppermint leaves and put those in my tea strainer. They won’t change the water to green as I’ve seen from the bagged “Bigalow” Peppermint tea does. There’s hardly any ‘mint’ taste from my dried peppermint leaves, but they complement the cranberries I think. I’ve also tried a little bit of my dried lavender flowers too and didn’t notice much difference (taste-wise). Lavender does help to aid digestion.

Cranberries are an extremely good source of antioxidants and natural vitamin C and if you can buy them fresh in the bag (Oceanspray brand) found in the fresh fruit/strawberry, blueberry, and mulberry cooler, then its worth it. Yep, you can freeze fresh cranberries (at least I do), and you can freeze fresh strawberries, blueberries, and mulberries. 🙂

If I can think of anything else, I will be adding to this blog as time goes on. Please, keep checking back. Thank you for liking, commenting, sharing, re-blogging, and tweeting. I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modern Makeup part 3:

Published May 28, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

In my first two blogs I discussed the trends between Victorian and Edwardian era makeup and fashions. In this blog I’m going to focus on modern makeup and give some helpful hints that I used in the past in a pinch when money was extremely tight. This consisted of my [then] makeup:

1. Wet n’ Wild black eyeliner pencil. This was not only inexpensive back in the 80s/ early 90s, it was also standard for any girl to have. Unlike nowadays, Wet n’ Wild used to be made here in the US. Oh, and there was no black lipstick back then either. Wet n’ Wild did make black nail polish back in the day and to achieve that ‘black lipstick’ look melt down an eye liner pencil and apply it then use a little bit of dark colored eye shadow to set it. This won’t help the black eye liner last very long, but it did help with smudging. I wouldn’t recommend using this outdated method at all since burns on the lips could result and pose a problem.

2. Covergirl eye shadow (light/ medium blue). I still held onto my last eye shadow compact which was produced sometime in the early 90s. There wasn’t much selection for a fair-skinned gal such as myself and blue was the only color I’d buy/ use.

3. Avon lipstick samples. My mom at one time had an entire makeup bag full of these little freebie lipsticks. My favorites were “bandana red”, “salmon pink” (more of a pale pink) and peach colored. The lipsticks were itty bitty about the size of a nickel.

4. Covergirl powder compact. I didn’t know exactly what shade matched me best in these days, so I went with two options: a.) the least expensive powder compact and b.) the lightest shade which was ivory.

5. Mascara – whatever was cheap. There wasn’t a whole lot to chose from back then. Certainly there wasn’t any volumizing, thickening, or long lash formulas that I was aware of.

I used to buy my makeup at Osco Drug store (now defunct). It was kind of like a K-Mart store back in the 80s/90s. Nowadays, I shop at Dollar General for makeup or if there’s a dollar store, I would highly recommend going there where everything’s a dollar. Not to sound like a cheap skate, but when getting started, these stores can do in a pinch.

Why I never spend a boat load of money on the more expensive brands like MUD, Kat von D, Sephora, Urban Decay, etc.:

Why spend $65 for a single makeup brush from Sephora? Why spend $57 on one eye shadow pallet by Kat von D? Not trying to down these makeup manufacturers and I’m sure their products are far superior to the common drug store makeup, but to me its all about price. I may sound very cheap when opting for the less glamorous makeup (and likely doing myself more harm than good) since the less expensive products are *cheaply mass produced*, but Anywho, I believe you get more for your money.

I doubt there’s much difference when it comes to heavy metals, minerals, shimmers, glitters, mattes, colors, etc. A company might pledge not to use any harmful chemicals in the making of their cosmetics, but there are repeat offenders none the less. Just as if they go on to claim they don’t do any animal testing, but seeing that we (the consumer) aren’t there in person to see this, who’s to say. I’m sure I have a TON of makeup that was tested on animals, but I’d never know since I’m just a consumer. A package might state in teeny letters “not tested on animals” and “cruelty free makeup”, but its just a statement that might not hold any merit.

Then there’s the liquid foundations, and from what I’ve seen in the last year or so, a lot of them contain Titanium Dioxide which has been classified in Canada to be a possible carcinogen to humans. See here:

http://www.organicmakeup.ca/ca/titaniumdioxide.asp

I suspected that Titanium Dioxide was a certain heavy metal, likely that came from the ground and its very difficult to evade. It’s in everything from food, plastics, toothpaste, paint and so on and it’s a first that I’ve seen it turn up in liquid foundation. It’s also in a lot of sunscreens as well. It was nearly impossible for me to find a liquid foundation without Titanium Dioxide in it. But I had no choice. My selection was spf this and Titanium Dioxide that. Well, I don’t plan to turn into a sun-loving, beach-lounging, tanning type of woman anytime soon. In fact, when I can do so, I prefer to be a homebody. And when I go out, I don the sun block, a hat, pants or if its hot outside, leggings, t-shirt and shoes. I’m not an open-toed sandal or flip flop gal.

And again buying cheap doesn’t leave much room, if any, for finding a good quality sun block that doesn’t have harmful chemicals. I checked with the Environmental Watch Group before going on my search for a reasonable sun block and came up empty-handed.

And speaking of sun block and SPF’s, anything higher than 50 spf will increase sun burn and skin cancer like Melanoma, for example. I only found this out by happenstance when overhearing two women conversing about it in a check out line and one was a cosmetologist.

Also, I will be blogging about natural hair washes and how to keep your hair soft. I’m making a concerted effort to live as naturally and healthy as the Lord and my budget will allow and that includes eliminating common items such as toothpastes, shampoos and conditioners, deodorants that contain aluminum which can be absorbed through your skin, perfumes, or at the very least, limiting how much is used. In the cosmetic industry if it states “fragrance” on the bottle this is a red warning flag according to the Environmental Watch Group and this sneaky vague ingredient can contain anything potentially harmful.

Thanks for reading and keep checking back.