The 7 Best Blenders For Homemade Smoothies

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Blenders Image Design 1 - The 7 Best Blenders For Homemade SmoothiesWhen it comes to making smoothies, you need a blender that will be able to handle all the fruit and ice you throw at it. But at the same time, you need to find something that is budget friendly. There is something out there for all needs, budgets, and requirements.

Rather than trying to compare your different options in the stores and going from website to website, wouldn’t it be best if you could get everything on one page? Well, we have the seven best blenders. Each of these will offer something specific that you need, along with other additional benefits.

There’s a blender for a low budget, one within a mid-budget range, one for those who want to crush ice, and more. Are you ready to find the best blender for your homemade smoothies?

The Nutri Ninja Pro BL450 for the Ice Breakers

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Image Credit – Ninja Kitchen

Let’s start with the Nutri Ninja. This is a popular one just for the name. After all, who doesn’t love something that has the word “ninja” in the title? It screams like it’s going to be the perfect item for your high-powered, healthy lifestyle.

This is the blender that you want when it comes to breaking the ice. It will handle absolutely anything with the blades, meaning that all those delicious recipes are a go. You will get a perfectly smooth drink whatever you throw into it. The blender works with 900 watts of power to make sure everything is broken down.

Another major benefit is the way the glass for blending becomes the container for drinking from. You can get a sealable lid, so you just take your drink on the go without finding another cup. There is minimal washing up, creating the perfect option for those with busy lives. The only thing you need to avoid is filing it all the way to the top! The lid sits on the inside, and you will end up with some leakage.

The Nutri Ninja also has the benefit of sorting out your issue with portions. It’s a single-serve bullet, so there’s no need to worry about consuming far too much fruit and vegetables in one sitting. This is a major concern for those making green smoothies, as you can accidentally have far more calories than you need without thinking too much about it.

Another major benefit of this blender (and the reason why it’s number one on the list) is the cost. The blender is one of the most affordable on the market, sitting comfortably below the $100 mark, even when tax and shipping are added in! If you need something affordable, reputable, and useable, this is the blender you want to invest in.

Vitamix Pro 750 Heritage Blender for the Pros

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Image Credit – Vitamix

If you have a large budget for your blender then this is one that you want to buy. I will get the downside out of the way by saying that this blender costs more than $500. It’s the one that all the pros use, and you’ll see why when you consider the details of the review.

The Vitamix blender is often compared to the Tesla car. It does supersede all competition, as it’s built on the research and technological advances. The blender will break down absolutely everything, creating a smooth and creamy texture every single time. There’s no issue with managing nut butter, creating a tasty and protein-packed treat when you want something a little different on a morning. The blender can also handle plenty of hot ingredients, making this blender suitable for soups as well as your smoothies.

The blender works at an exceptionally high speed, with a 2.2 peak horsepower, although you can easily change the speed setting for all your needs. It also has a tamper, so there’s no need to open the lid to swish the ingredients around when the ingredients rise to the top or get stuck in the blades. The tamper will push everything down quickly and effectively.

Speaking of speed, there are five pre-arranged settings. You can twist a dial for the smoothies, hot foods, iced desserts and more that you want to make.

Vitamix blenders are among the easiest to clean, helping to save time afterward. The blades are made of stainless steel, and the tub is a strong plastic that is virtually shatterproof.

If you’re just getting your blender out every weekend for a smoothie, then it’s not going to be the one for you. When you want something that you can use multiple times a day for all types of meals, this is one that you will not regret buying. This will not need replacing, ever!

KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender for the Nuts and Seeds

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Image Credit –  Amazon

When you want something mid-range in price but powerful, you’ll want to look towards KitchenAid. The brand is one of the most reputable in the world for all kitchen appliances, and that is certainly the case for blenders for your green smoothies.

The KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender is, as the name suggests, a blender with five different speeds. You can decide on the speed you want for the ingredients you’re using. The higher speedis perfect if you want to blend down the nuts and seeds in your smoothie if you don’t want the chunkier bits. You have full control over everything that you make with this blender.

The motor speed is 670-watt, so it is lower power than the Nutri Ninja at the top. It’s also slightly more expensive at $150. However, you’re paying for the ability to make a larger portion, meaning you can create smoothies for the whole family and not just yourself.

Like many other KitchenAid appliances, the blender fits any décor. There are 15 different colors to choose, whether you want your blender to stand out or blend in. The plastic is also BPA free, meaning it’s completely healthy for your whole family. This is a blender where cleaning is extremely easy. You can pull the plastic holder from the base to wash, and the flat buttons will just wipe clean.

One of the downsides of the blender is that it is noisy. A customer review on Amazon does describe the blender sound like an “angry Chewbacca,” but you’ll forget about it soon after you’ve finished using it.

Oster Versa Pro Performance Blender for a Cheaper Vitamix

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Image Credit – Amazon

I don’t blame you loving the sound of the Vitamix. It certainly is the best blender out there, but the price lets it down. What if you could have all the benefits of the Vitamix without spending more than $500 on one kitchen appliance? Yes, you really can with the Oster Versa.

One of the downsides of the blender is that the brand isn’t as well-known as others. However, it’s worth the risk when there are so many positive reviews.

This is a blender that will cream, smooth, chop, and slice everything. You can get smoothies, make your nut butter, create ice cream, and so much more. There’s even the same tamper the Vitamix must make sure the ingredients remain close to the blades until they’re broken down and processed.

There are pre-programmed settings. This will certainly make it easier to create the exact meals you want. The settings even have one for grinding nuts completely, helping you to create smooth and creamy nut butter or you can add some nuts to your smoothies for some extra protein.

If that isn’t enough, there’s even a recipe book! Not only do you get a blender, but you’ll have a book with all the different types of recipes and smoothies that you can make. You won’t need to spend hours searching online for something new to try.

The motor works at the1,400-watt power and the blades spin at a rate of 250mph! That’s epic for a blender and shows just what it can do once it’s in your home. If you still need something to sell it to you, then you’ll want to check out the warranty. While most blenders offer a year (two if you’re lucky), the Oster Versa has a 7-year warranty!

The downside? Well, it is still a little pricey. It may be cheaper than the Vitamix, but you still need to spend $300+ on a blender. This isn’t an option for everyone!

Blendtec Total Blender for Blending Your iPhone

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Image Credit – Amazon

I’m not sure why you’d want to blend your iPhone, but this is apparently a selling point for the blender. Well, maybe it’s because it shows you just how much the blender can break down. It really will break down your ice and nuts if it can turn an iPhone to dust (yes, this was tested).

Blendtec offers the Total Blender. This is another blender that does everything the Vitamix offers, but at a slightly lower price. Unfortunately, it’s still not as low as the Oster Versa, which is why it’s one lower than it. The Blendtec looks like it has dull blades, but that’s certainly not the case. You will create the smoothest smoothies you’ve ever tasted. You’ll never want to buy one again.

One of the biggest benefits of the blender is the size. It fits under counters, meaning it’s easy to put away or keep out if you want. There is the downside of no tamper, but this is where the ingenious design comes into play. The blender doesn’t have the issue of food climbing the sides of the plastic and escaping the ability to be blended down.

It’s also much wider at the base. Not only will this make it easier to add ingredients and pour, but you’ll find it much easier to clean than any of the other designs out there.

However, there is a slight downside to the style of the blender. It has raised buttons, meaning cleaning the sides and thetop can be tricky. It also has a dated look, which can leave people questioning when you bought it!

There are cheaper Blendtecs out there. They’re not quite as strong but they have similar designs and are at the lower end of budgets. If you want to stick with the brand, you can.

The Margaritaville DM0500 Bahamas for the Alcoholic Smoothies

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Image Credit – Margaritaville

Sometimes you don’t just want to create tasty, healthy smoothies. You want cocktails and drinks that are suitable for a girls’ night in. This is where the Margaritaville DM0500 Bahamas comes into play. Even the name makes it clear that this isn’t just for those green smoothies to start your day.

The frozen smoothie maker doesn’t just crush your ice. It shaves it, creating a delicious frozen cocktail or smoothie within minutes. You have a large enough server, so you can get four glasses of cocktails and more for you and your friends to enjoy. Shaving the ice helps to avoid watering down the smoothies later. The ice is kept separate from the drink and filtered out of the machine differently to avoid any watering down!

This blender is also dishwasher safe, making it one of the easiest to clean. You will need to take it apart, and it does come in two sections for blending the drinks and shaving the ice.

You’ll also get a set of shot glasses and a recipe booklet. Everything comes in at under $150.

One of the downsides is the speed. It only has a 450-watt motor. This is enough for your frozen cocktails and smoothies. It won’t do anything else if you want a multi-use blender.

Hamilton Beach Power Elite for Those Who Need Affordable and Reputable

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Image Credit – Amazon

Finally, it’s the Hamilton Beach Power Elite. This is another well-known brand, which offers the instant proof reputability. This blender also comes in at under $30, making it the cheapest blender on the list. Many would think this means poor quality, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The blender breaks down ice easily, creating fresh and delicious smoothies. It’s not the greatest for adding nut butter or making your nut butter, but it will work with frozen fruits and protein powders. If you just want basic smoothies that you make on a weekly basis, then this is something you’ll wantto consider.

There are 12 functions for blending down, allowing you to keep some chunks or create a completely smooth drink. You can make more than one portion, making it perfect for families and groups. If you want a chopping function, you can get an upgrade for less than $40. The blender works with a peak speed of 700-watt, making it better than some of the higher priced blenders!

The downside is the cleaning. While the jug is easy to clean, the dash has raised buttons that can lead to liquid and food getting caught in them. The great news is the blender comes with a 3-year warranty.

Which Blender Will You Buy?

Each of the blenders above has pros and cons. There is something for all budgets and needs. If you do just want something for a smoothie now and then, I recommend the Hamilton Beach Power Elite. If you want something that does a lot more and you have the budget, the Vitamix is something well worth considering.

Improve Your Thyroid Health With Selenium! (This Homemade Vegan Nut-Milk Provides One Of The Richest Dietary Sources Of This Important Mineral)

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Deficient Selenium levels in your body may be the reason your experiencing thyroid issues!

A healthy thyroid is essential for the maintenance of overall health. Thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism, more specifically Hashimoto’s, are becoming increasingly common.

Efficient thyroid function, including hormone synthesis and metabolism, protection of the thyroid gland, and immune efficacy are all benefits of having adequate Selenium stores. Although Selenium deficiency is not considered to be common in healthy adults, it is often an issue for those suffering from digestive health issues (resulting in poor nutrient absorption) and individuals with chronic inflammatory conditions.

It is an accepted belief that Selenium deficiency itself does not cause illness, but that the body becomes more susceptible to illness caused by other nutritional, biochemical, and infectious stresses as a result of its role in immune function.

Selenium has a significant impact on inflammatory activity in thyroid-related autoimmune disease. Reducing this inflammation may reduce damage to thyroid tissue. Selenium increases glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase activity and decreases toxic concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and lipid hydroperoxides which result from thyroid hormone synthesis.

Selenium is necessary for the conversion of T4 to T3. This is very important because T3 is the active form of the thyroid hormone and low T3 can result in hypothyroid symptoms. In severe selenium deficiency this conversion is impaired which increases hypothyroid symptoms.

One of the best ways to increase your Selenium intake is with Brazil Nut Milk!

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Commonly known for being high in selenium, Brazil nuts also offer thiamin (vitamin B1, which supports a healthy nervous system), phosphorus, and magnesium! Brazil nuts are very high in fat so have a rich taste and create an amazingly creamy nut milk. Follow this simple recipe for delicious and nutritious Brazil nut milk.

Ingredients:

(Makes 3 Cups)

  • 1 Cup Brazil Nuts (no need to soak)

  • 4 Cups Water

  • 5 Pitted Dates OR 1-2 Tbsp of desired sweetener (honey, agave, maple syrup)

  • 1 Pinch Sea Salt

  • ½ Tsp Vanilla Bean Powder OR 1 Tbsp Cacao Powder

Method:

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

  • Lay cheesecloth, a nut milk bag, paper towel, or strainer over the mouth of a mason jar**.

  • Hold the cloth, bag, or paper towel in place with a rubber band by slipping it around the mouth of the container.

  • Carefully pour the nut milk through your desired straining device and into the container.

  • Enjoy!

You can also make this recipe in much smaller quantities for single time use, just try to follow the same ratios!

**Note: I am usually not picky about straining my nut milks so this is usually the end of the process for me. In fact, I often enjoy the pulp at the end! If I find there are particularly large chunks I’ll use a strainer to keep the process easy peasy. I find for the most part the chunks are so tiny that they are not the slightest bit offensive (especially if you have a high-speed blender).

Some Other Fun Facts About Selenium:

  • Selenium is a trace mineral which is nutritionally essential for humans

  • Selenium ingested through dietary sources is preferable (as opposed to supplementation)

  • The primary dietary source of Selenium is plant foods

  • Other great sources of selenium include: brazil nuts, mushrooms, tuna and turkey

  • Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and helps fight damaging particles in the body (free radicals)

  • Free radicals can damage cell membranes and DNA, and may contribute to aging, heart disease, cancer, and other health conditions

  • Selenium is important in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, and protection from oxidative damage and infection

  • Selenium’s metabolic function is similar to the antioxidant activity of Vitamin E

  • Selenium converts oxidized fat to less harmful compounds

  • The main site of Selenium storage is the skeletal muscle

  • Selenium helps regulate the metabolism of thyroid hormones and aids in immune function

Holy Granoly! Katie’s Simple Homemade Granola Recipe (Gluten-Free)

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Katie Israelson

I like to bring an organic and honest yet humorous approach to my counselling and writing. I believe in the importance of nourishing the soul and body, and hope to provide support for those open to my quirky yet insightful anecdotes. By embracing my own challenges with food sensitivities, hormone balancing, and weight management (believe me, this is an ongoing battle) I hope to connect with my readers on a personal level.

As a newbie blogger, I am here to let you know we are not alone in our struggles, challenges or successes. Everyone has a story. Regardless of setbacks we are powerful human beings, capable of achieving greatness. So may we rise up, and walk this road together.

5 Reasons to Ditch Toxic Dryer Sheets & Homemade Ideas To Use Instead

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meprof.png 1 - 5 Reasons to Ditch Toxic Dryer Sheets & Homemade Ideas To Use InsteadMegan Patiry

You probably don’t think twice about tossing a dryer sheet into your laundry. After all, they give your clothes a fresh scent and make them feel oh-so-soft.

Unfortunately, while dryer sheets make your clothes feel and smell wonderful, the chemicals used to make them so effective are incredibly toxic.

5 Toxic Dangers of Dryer Sheets

One of the biggest concerns regarding dryer sheets is the chemical cocktail that comes with them. Essentially, everything about a dryer sheet, from its fragrance to its fabric-softening abilities, can be attributed to chemicals. These aren’t of the mild type either, with several being labeled carcinogenic, hazardous air pollutants (1).

1. Skin and Throat Irritation

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If you’ve ever experienced a scratchy throat or skin irritation after doing laundry, you might want to consider ditching those dryer sheets.

Dryer sheets contain formaldehyde, the same chemical used to make building materials and furniture. Oddly, it’s a common ingredient in many brands, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states it can “make you sick” (2). In actuality, formaldehyde can do more than just make you “sick,” and has been linked to severe skin, nose, eye, and throat irritation, as well as vascular collapse, pneumonia, and injury to the larynx and trachea (3).

2. Respiratory Irritation and Asthma

Quaternary ammonium compounds, or “quats,” are a group of chemicals in dryer sheets responsible for softening fabric and eliminating static. These compounds have been shown to cause asthma, and the association between asthma and QUATS was found to be “significant” by studies (4).

The chemical formaldehyde has also been shown to cause burning and stinging eyes, upper airway irritation, and “wheezing, tearing, excessive thirst, and disturbed sleep” (5).

3. Disrupted Hormones

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Many dryer sheets also contain phthalates used as solvents in cleaning products. These have been shown to act as endocrine (hormone) disruptors that can have estrogenic effects (6). Disrupting your endocrine system with these chemicals can result in infertility, premature ovarian failure, and non-reproductive disorders (7).

Are you struggling to lose weight, craving foods you shouldn’t, and finding yourself fatigued and unable to focus? Chances are, your Hormones are out of whack.
Get our FREE Guide to fixing your Hormones through the Paleo diet here!

4. Chemicals Classified as Carcinogens

The idea that something as innocent-looking as a dryer sheet could cause tumors seems surreal, but the facts ring true. Studies have shown that dichlorobenzene, a chemical used in dryer sheets to reduce static, can cause kidney and liver tumors. The Environmental Protection Agency also labels it a possible human carcinogen (8).

Studies have shown that dichlorobenzene, a chemical used in dryer sheets to reduce static, can cause kidney and liver tumors.

Other chemicals in dryer detergents, like benzyl acetate, have been shown to induce liver tumors and gastric neoplasms in mice. According to one study, the incidence of cancer appears to increase with prolonged use, with “significant incidence of carcinoma” being observed after two years of exposure to benzyl acetate (9).

5. Environmental Damage

It turns out the chemicals in dryer sheets are more than just a personal concern. A 2011 study found that these carcinogenic chemicals leak into the environment and air through laundry vents. What’s even more concerning is that these chemical emissions go unregulated, unlike other forms of pollution.

The study mentions that seven chemicals coming out of laundry vents are considered “hazardous air pollutants” that linger in the air, go down drains, and seep into lakes and rivers (10).


What to Use Instead of Dryer Sheets

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Don’t worry. Ditching commercial dryer sheets loaded with chemicals doesn’t mean you still can’t have fresh-smelling, soft clothes. Luckily, there are many natural and easy substitutes for dryer sheets that will do the job just as well – without the toxic overload.

Vinegar Fabric Softener

Vinegar is excellent for softening fabric. Simply add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to your load during the rinse cycle.

Hypoallergenic Dryer Balls

Add a rubber or wool dryer ball to your load (just make sure there are no hidden chemical ingredients). These help reduce static, soften fabric, and fluff your clothes.

Switch to Natural Fabrics

This is an option if you’re concerned about static cling, since polyester and other fabrics tend to create static. Think about gradually switching to natural fabrics like 100% cotton.


DIY Dryer Sheets

You can also make your own toxic-free dryer sheets at home! It’s super easy and so much better than most commercial options. We’ve included a homemade recipe below you can start using today to help keep your home natural and safe.

DIY Dryer Sheets - 5 Reasons to Ditch Toxic Dryer Sheets & Homemade Ideas To Use Instead

Homemade Dryer Sheets

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If you prefer the more traditional feel of tossing a dryer sheet into your laundry load, you’ll love this DIY recipe.

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(Read This Next: 10 Toxins Hiding in Your Furniture & 5 Ways To Get Rid Of Them)

Ann Marie Gianni Skincare - 5 Reasons to Ditch Toxic Dryer Sheets & Homemade Ideas To Use Instead

Homemade Snack Recipes

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Instead of processed snack foods, try these homemade combinations.

Cowboy Caviar

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Ingredients

  • 1 can pinto beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 can black-eyed peas (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 can shoepeg corn (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 2 large avocados, diced
  • 1 large purple onion, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Tortilla chips, 1 serving per person (see Nutrition Facts for serving size)

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate overnight.  Before serving, drain off excess liquid (or can rinse in strainer, if desired). Serve with tortilla chips (limit to 1 serving on the chips, but unlimited caviar).

Caramel Popcorn

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Ingredients

  • 6 c. popped popcorn (in microwave)
  • 1/2 c. peanuts  or sunflower seeds
  • 1 T. molasses
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ¼ cup popcorn  in a paper lunch bag and fold the top of the bag over 3 times; place in microwave and set for 4 minutes. Stand by and cancel the timer as soon as popping slows or smelling the faint smell of browning popcorn. Repeat until you have 6 cups of popcorn.

Place popcorn  and peanuts or sunflower seeds in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine molasses, brown sugar and honey; stir until well blended. Pour over popcorn and toss until well coated.

Spread onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool slightly and then serve. Makes 8 servings

Find more healthy snack ideas on our Pinterest board

 

Homemade Personalized Pizzas

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ss 150069011 kid pizza cooking - Homemade Personalized PizzasFamilies get busy and want to eat out. But, part of the draw to restaurants is that the food is very appealing. Try home made pizza–it rivals restaurant pizza in flavor, and you’ll know it’s made with quality ingredients. Enjoy!

Personalized Pizza

Set the kids up with pizza dough and various toppings. Step back while they assemble their creations.

What You’ll Need:

  • Pizza crust—there are many options: ready-made, ready to bake dough or home-made (by hand or in a bread machine). Whole grain crusts are a good choice, or if making your own dough, try using white flour with ½ cup of wheat germ added for extra nutrients. Whichever you choose, the dough should be partially baked (10 minutes at 400 degrees) before adding the toppings. If you buy a large prepared crust, score the top lightly with a knife so everyone gets a “section.” If you buy or make dough, form into mini pizzas so everyone has their own.
  • Pizza sauce—there are many brands in the store; if you make your own, be sure it is very thick so the crust doesn’t get soggy.
  • Toppings—so many options!
    • Vegetables—cut in bite-sized pieces and sauté so flavors are developed and juices are released (raw vegetables will make pizza soggy). Try sliced mushrooms, diced peppers, sliced olives, canned artichoke hearts, sautéed spinach, thin-sliced zucchini, chopped asparagus.
    • Proteins—good quality Italian-style sausage or pepperoni, Canadian bacon, cooked shrimp, leftover chicken.
    • Cheese—anything goes: no cheese, a light sprinkle of shredded parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Shape pizza dough into appropriate sized crusts and to desired thickness. Par bake for 10 minutes, until firm.
  • While crusts are baking, sauté vegetables and place in small bowls. Then cook meat, if needed (raw sausage, uncooked shrimp); drain fat and place in a bowl.

Assemble crusts, pizza sauce and all toppings on the counter. Call the kids to make their individual pizzas. Place assembled pizzas on a baking sheet and return to oven for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

What are your family’s favorite pizza toppings?

Healthy Homemade Mayo and Ketchup

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Healthy Recipes From The Hullistic Network

Now that Spring is somewhat peeking its head around the corner (at least, here in Texas), I thought I’d share some homemade recipes for cookouts to brighten your day.

Here are two recipes for whipping up homemade mayonnaise and ketchup. No need to buy the store-bought brands that are filled with sugar and additives.

Fool-Proof Healthy Mayo

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon  mustard
  • ½ teaspoon lemon  juice
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of paprika
  • 2 cups olive oil

Procedure:

  1. In a blender or a food  processor, blend egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, and salt.
  2. Mix the ingredients for a couple of seconds and then SLOWLY drizzle the oil into the blender while mixing.
  3. If the oil is added too quickly, the mayonnaise will not emulsify or thicken. Take your time.
  4. Adjust to taste with lemon juice, paprika, and salt.

Refrigerate.

Homemade Ketchup in Just 2 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic tomato  paste
  • 1 tbsp raw organic honey 
  • 1 tbsp raw unfiltered  apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl, and enjoy!

So, the next sunny day (or evening sunset), go outside and enjoy a family cook-out.

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Spring’s around the corner.

 

You have our permission to reprint this article if you attribute us with a live back-link to this article. http://www.janethull.com/healthynews/.

 

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. The FDA may not have evaluated some of the statements.  This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding supplements or making any changes to your dietary program.

My Homemade Deodorant Recipe

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It is no secret that commercial deodorant/antiperspirants have a huge list of toxic chemicals as their ingredients.  Commercial deodorants and antiperspirants contain toxic ingredients such as Aluminum, Parabens, Propylene Glycol, and Phthalates to name a few.  These toxic chemicals seep directly into the bloodstream and lymph system through the skin.  Your skin is your largest organ and anything you put onto it will seep into your body and can cause damage.  These toxic chemicals may not be the main cause of breast cancer, but it is certainly may be a contributing factor.

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Once I had breast cancer, I knew that I had to stop wearing deodorant/antiperspirant and had to start making my own. At the time, I was hiking up to 50 miles per week and ice skating on my off days. Since I was very active, I had to find a deodorant that worked to keep the smelly pits at bay. I had tried every single non-toxic, paraben free, aluminum free deodorant on the market and they all failed to deliver especially on the hiking days.

It took a couple of years of testing all of the sub-par deodorants on the market before I got tired of wasting my money and started making my own deodorant. I had found that my homemade deodorant worked better than the expensive brands sold over the counter. Here is my recipe:

Tamara’s Pit Paste:

• Arrowroot powder (1/4 cup)
• Cornstarch (2 TBSP)
• Bentonite Clay (1 TBSP)
• Baking soda (2 tsp)
• Coconut Oil (enough to make smooth)
• Shea Butter (enough to make smooth)
• Tea Tree Oil or Lemon Balm Oil (about 10 drops)

Measurements depend upon the size of the jar you will be storing the mixture into. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in an empty jar, and then add some coconut oil (melted) until the mixture becomes pliable. Add the Shea butter and essential oil. Mix well and store on the countertop. Only use a small bit underneath each armpit (less than the size of a dime). I experiment with the measurements and the mixture ends up different each time. If you have very sensitive pits, use less bentonite clay and less baking soda as both of those tend to irritate.

When I started using this My homemade deodorant  recipe, I had found that it worked great even on the days when I would hike 10 miles or more in extreme heat. Now, this is only a deodorant so it won’t keep you dry, but it definitely helps with the smell. Since everyone’s body chemistry is different, you will have to experiment with the measurements to see what works best for you. Enjoy.

Blessings,

Tamara St. John

Image credit: http://angrychicken.typepad.com

Rediscovering The Homemade Lunch

One Mom’s Reflections On The Simple Importance Of This Daily Tradition

By Laura Pasetta

When I was a child, I was lucky. My mother prepared a homemade lunch for me to take to school every day. And even though I wasn’t always excited about the carrot sticks or oatmeal cookies, her attention to detail made me feel special and loved.

I never truly appreciated what a gift Mom’s boxed lunches were until she passed away when I was a teenager. I clearly remembered one day, after her death, choking down a generic, school-provided hot lunch while my friend unpacked her mother’s homemade sandwich and fresh cookies. It was in that moment I truly understood the impact a simple act like a homemade lunch could have. Then and there, I made a promise that when I became a parent I was going to carry on my mother’s tradition of making lunch. A lunch built with my own two hands: a simple gesture of love and care for my own children to carry off to school.

Years later, I became a mother to two school-age girls and quickly realized what a juggling act homemade lunches can be. Two children (with polar-opposite tastes) meant preparing two lunches every morning.

I’d barely established the tradition of homemade lunches in our household before both girls began to complain. As the school year wore on, more and more of what I packed returned home untouched, or was traded away on the lunchroom “black market”. It was a losing battle and I was losing patience.

It wasn’t until a few months later that the true crux of my problem hit home while my husband and I went hiking with the girls. After a morning of strenuously walking, we settled under a tree for lunch. I proudly pulled out the meal I’d made that morning – and was dismayed by what I saw!

The sandwiches were smashed and oozed filling. The crackers, pulverized. The water was hot and had developed a distinctly plastic flavor. It was the most disgusting meal I’d ever eaten – and I had made it. I was about to make a soggy-sandwich joke to lighten the mood when my daughter said, “This is how my sandwich and water get at school.”

My mouth literally fell open with shock. Her lunch couldn’t possibly be this bad! All those mornings I woke up early to make homemade lunches – this inedible rubbish was the result? I nearly cried with frustration.

When we got home that afternoon I escaped outside to my hammock, closed my eyes and meditated back to childhood: a school day spent concentrating, playing with kids, surviving emotional schoolyard ups and downs. I imagined opening up my lunch box in the midst of all this chaos – ready for a reprieve from my hectic school day. What foods would I most want to see? What would make me smile? The ideas started forming so quickly, I dashed for a pen to write it all down.

From then on, I made it my personal mission to prepare a healthy lunch my kids would look forward to opening – a bright spot in their school day. I interviewed my children and others. I tested new recipes on my family. I studied books on food presentation and storage techniques. Through time and effort, I became a one-woman boxed-lunch expert and my kids loved it.

Now, when my girls come home from school, they regale me with stories of how other kids beg, plead and barter to get their hands on my daughters’ lunch. No matter the offer, my girls never give in.

Although I feel for those other kids, with their soggy sandwiches and warm drinks, I’m proud to carry on my mother’s tradition of packing homemade love in a lunchbox. She taught me that a little time and effort are the greatest gifts we can give our loved ones; and that the only lunch worth packing, is a lunch that’s been packed right. Thanks, Mom.

Laura Pasetta, a health & nutrition expert and mother of two, is the founder and co-owner of The Visual Guide – a video production company offering the best in educational DVDs and free web downloads. 

 

Healthy homemade Minestrone soup recipe

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You don’t have to spend a lot of money, or add a lot of sodium or fat, to create a hearty soup base that pours health into your diet and chases off the chill. Try these tips for a healthy Minestrone soup base:

  1. Make your own broth

    Broth is the healthiest soup base and can be made with a few simple ingredients—water, onion, celery, carrots, and meat bones. Or make vegetable stock by swapping the bones for parsnips, turnips, and mushrooms. If you’re short on time, use a low-sodium broth from the store. If your recipe calls for cream, just use a few tablespoons. Or puree a skinned, cooked potato and stir that into the soup to thicken it.

  2. Watch the fat content in meat

    Choose lean cuts of meat or poultry. Brown meat, pat it dry, and drain excess fat from the pan.

  3. Add high-fiber and in-season veggies

    Beans, peas, and lentils are always good for fiber. And don’t forget seasonal vegetables like kale and cauliflower. If you’re using canned veggies, rinse them well to remove added sodium.

  4. Add good carbs, but go easy on them

    Brown rice, wild rice, barley, and small-sized whole grain pasta are all smart choices.

  5. Use fresh herbs to get big flavor

    Add fresh herbs to the pot toward the end of the cooking time to preserve the most flavors, or use them as a garnish. For dried herbs, warm them in a pan to release their oils and bump up their flavor power.

Minestrone soup recipe

wAAACwAAAAAAQABAEACAkQBADs= - Healthy homemade Minestrone soup recipeIngredients

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2–3 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 12 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 quarts of water or vegetable broth
  • 1 1-inch piece parmesan rind (optional)
  • 1-1/2 cups dry whole-grain penne (brown rice if gluten-free, whole wheat otherwise), cooked according to package instructions, drained and rinsed with cold water
  • 1 12 oz. can cannellini or kidney beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped, for garnish
  • Grated parmesan to garnish (optional)

Preparation

Sauté onions and garlic together with the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When softened (after about 3 minutes), add celery and carrots and continue cooking for another 5 minutes until vegetables start to soften. Add tomatoes and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5–8 minutes. Add green beans, water or vegetable broth, and Parmesan rind. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to low, and continue to cook for 30 minutes.

Add drained beans and cooked pasta, and continue to cook at a gentle simmer for about 5 more minutes until warm. Remove Parmesan rind (if used), taste the soup, and add salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with fresh basil and grated Parmesan.

Note: For a variation on the recipe, use 1 lb. kale or chard—large stems removed and thinly sliced crosswise (julienned)—instead of the green beans.

Recipe courtesy of Julija Gelazis