DIY Hand Sanitizer
You’ve been hearing a lot lately about the precautions you and your loved ones can and should take to keep healthy. Hand sanitizer, in particular, has never been more popular, since it’s been widely documented as one of the best ways to protect yourself on-the-go. I’ve never been a big fan of hand sanitizer (in theory, it kills both the good and the bad germs), but sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do! Nothing’s more important than keeping ourselves and the people we love healthy, right?
How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer
Before we go much further… I want to remind you that washing your hands in the sink with soap and water is still always, always, always going to be your best option. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say so, and I’m all about trusting the experts! I also love my clean, safe hand soap from Beautycounter, which makes washing my hands an even nicer experience.
But let’s get real: you aren’t always going to have easy access to a sink and soap, and unfortunately, the moments when those things aren’t available can definitely be the same moments when you feel like you need them the most!
If you and your loved ones are out shopping, traveling, or doing other activities in public, you’re bound to feel like you need a quicker fix, especially during cold and flu season or the spread of more serious diseases like Covid-19. When you’re out and about, you shouldn’t wait until you get home to fight germs on your hands. If soap and water aren’t available, you should use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Hand sanitizer is a quick, convenient solution that’s easy to travel with and can reduce the number of microbes and germs on your hands, according to the CDC. Store-bought, scientifically-formulated hand sanitizers are a solid next option when you can’t wash your hands with soap and water.
If you’re having trouble tracking down hand sanitizer at the store, you can make your own. While this can work in a pinch, it’s still not as reliable as the store-bought kind, in which all of the chemicals are perfectly proportioned. So make sure you do your due diligence with measurements!
That being said, making your own DIY hand sanitizer is a simple process that only requires a few ingredients (although you can add a few others for extra benefits). And since many mainstream hand sanitizers contain dangerous fragrances and an antibiotic compound called triclosan that the FDA has raised concerns about, you’re probably better off making your own, anyway.
What You Need to Make it
- 99% rubbing alcohol (you can use 70% alcohol but you must change the proportions of the recipe, per the CDC). This is the active ingredient in any hand sanitizer recipe, and it needs to comprise at least 60% of the product in order to be an effective disinfectant. Use specifically isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) or ethanol (grain alcohol), since others can be toxic.
- Aloe Vera Gel
- Essential Oils (like Tea Tree & Lemon)
- Vitamin E Oil (optional)
- Small Glass Bottles
- Squeeze Tubes
- Funnel (or just pour it in)
- Mixing bowl or Liquid Measuring Cup
- A non-metal utensil for mixing (we found the aloe stuck to a metal whisk)
- Start by sanitizing all of your tools (glass bottles/squeeze tubes, liquid measuring cup, and a spatula) in hot water or a dishwasher. There’s no point in making something that’s meant for sanitizing in an unsanitary way!
- Put the rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel in the bowl and mix thoroughly with the spatula. (If you’d prefer, you can put the ingredients directly into a jar or the bottle and shake it.)
- Add your desired add-ins.
- Use the funnel to carefully pour the sanitizer into your bottle.
How it Differs from Store-Bought Hand Sanitizer
As we’ve been using the hand sanitizer over the last week we’ve noticed that the aloe vera doesn’t stay homogenized very well. To counteract this we shake up the bottle each time we’re going to use it. Keep in mind when you put this together that this DIY hand sanitizer has minimal ingredients, with the most important one being the alcohol. If your aloe does separate, this isn’t a concern, it merely means it isn’t blending well. Shake it to the best of your ability, but don’t sweat it, as long as you’ve got the alcohol you are good to go. We realize this isn’t a perfection solution and isn’t an exact replica of buying factory made hand sanitizer, but this has been so helpful for us since we cannot purchase it in the store, and we hope it will for you too.
Here are some other optional ingredients you can add to make it nicer to use! However be careful of how many additional products you add-in as it could dilute the alcohol. Keep in mind you need at least 60% alcohol in the solution.
Essential Oils: Different essential oils can add different properties to your hand sanitizer. Oils like tea tree, thyme, and clove have antimicrobial, antibacterial properties to help the sanitizer work even harder. Add about 8-10 drops of those oils to your mixture. Be careful about adding in too much as it could throw off the formula. Gentle essential oils like lavender or chamomile can have a soothing effect on your skin and can be used in a slightly larger quantity — three to five drops. For a natural fragrance, you can also add five drops of lemon or orange essential oil! Safe essential oils should be labeled as wildcrafted, organic, and extracted without solvents.
Vitamin E Oil: Mixing in five drops of vitamin E oil will make your hands a little softer!
How long does it last?
Homemade hand sanitizer can be used effectively for up to twelve months, but don’t use it as a substitute for washing with soap and water! That should still be your family’s primary mode of washing up whenever possible. DIY hand sanitizer can also freeze and make a mess, so be sure to take it out of your car if temperatures are getting especially chilly.
Hand sanitizer, especially alcohol-based can be drying on your hands, so make sure to moisturize!
Wash up, everyone, and stay healthy!
DIY Hand Sanitizer
While hand sanitizer isn't the best option for getting rid of germs, sometimes it's the only option. Making DIY hand sanitizer is easy and quick to do!
- 6 tablespoons 99% isopropyl alcohol (see note)
- 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel
- 8-10 drops of essential oil (optional)
- 5 drops vitamin E oil
- Sanitize all equipment that will come into contact with the sanitizer either by running it in a dishwasher or boiling for 5 minutes (take care to only boil heat safe items).
- Either mix together ingredients in a sanitized bowl with a non-metal utensil, or add the ingredients to your destined sanitizer container and mix it up.
- If you are using a 70% isopropyl alcohol you need to change the proportions to this:
- 7 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of 70% isopropryl alcohol
- 2 teaspoons aloe vera gel
DISCLAIMER: This website provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this website, or in any linked materials, are for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Reliance on any information provided on this website or any linked websites is solely at your own risk.
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DIY Hand Sanitizer
These Paleo Marshmallows, made with honey and maple syrup, are a surprisingly easy (and impressive) project, and also the very best tasting marshmallows you’re likely to ever eat. Below we offer so many tips on successfully making them, as well as options to flavor them!
Paleo Marshmallow Recipe
After so many of you successfully made our Homemade Marshmallow Fluff and loved it we knew it was time to get testing to make Paleo Marshmallows! It may seems a little daunting to think about making something like marshmallows, but truly it isn’t that hard. Making these marshmallows is not only a fun activity with impressive results, but seriously they are the BEST marshmallows you’ll ever have tasted–we promise.
What makes this gelatin marshmallow recipe different?
Our recipe is a little different than a lot of marshmallows out there. Aside from being made without any corn syrup and using only unrefined sugars to sweeten the marshmallows, our recipe is different because it includes egg whites, which is a classic French style. The addition of egg whites makes for a fluffier marshmallow that is easier to handle while you are making them. But don’t worry, the egg whites are cooked by the hot sugar syrup to a safe temperature. These fluffy marshmallows are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and are worth the (small) effort to make homemade.
Here are the Tools You Need for Homemade Marshmallows
- Essentials: 1 Medium to Large Heavy Bottomed Pot, spatulas and small bowl
- Thermapen or candy thermometer
- Electric Stand Mixer
- Dish (for setting the marshmallows)
- Parchment Paper
- Pizza Wheel (for cutting marshmallows)
Tips for Making Homemade Marshmallows
The first thing you need to know about making marshmallows is that you are making candy! You’ll be cooking up a very hot sugary syrup and then pouring it into beaten egg whites and softened gelatin and whipping them up until the whole mixture has transformed into a glossy stiff peaks. Then you place it in a starch dusted container and let it set before cutting.
- The size of the pan you use to make the square marshmallows depends on how big you would like your square marshmallows. For a smaller marshmallow squares use a half sheet pan, or a 9×13 pan. For larger marshmallows use an 8″x8″ or a 9″x9″ pan. Or alternatively you can make cylindrical marshmallows, which will need a sheet pan to hold the piped mixture.
- Prep your containers that you will be setting the marshmallows in ahead of time. You want to line them with parchment and vigorously dust with arrowroot or a combination of arrowroot/ powdered sugar. Don’t worry you won’t be eating all of this but it is merely to coat the sticky part of the marshmallow and you shake off any excess starch.
- The bowl and whisk attachment of your electric mixer must be cleaned well because if there is any grease in it, it will prevent the egg whites from whipping up properly.
- Use a mild flavored honey. A strong flavored honey, or raw honey will shine through more with a honey flavor (of course). We use a mixture of honey and maple syrup so that one flavor isn’t more dominate and the two together works more as a sweetener as opposed to be a flavor component.
- The added water in the sugar mixture helps the sugar come to a boil without burning. Put the water in the pot first, then the other two sweeteners. Do not stir the pot. Do not move the pot. You run the risk of crystallizing the sugar, especially because we aren’t using corn syrup.
- Make sure you handle the gelatin properly. You’ll want to let it bloom, or hydrate properly as the instructions indicate. The hot sugar syrup acts as the means to melt it so that it can fully incorporate in the marshmallow cream. It will set up after the mixture cools.
- You want your sugar mixture to reach the “soft ball” stage or 235ºF-240ºF. This stage gets it’s name from the fact that if you put a droplet of cold water into the boiling sugar, it will turn into a soft ball. This hot sugar mixture is what cooks the egg whites and turns it into marshmallows. If you didn’t have a thermometer you could theoretically test the doneness of the sugar by dropping it in water and watching the reaction, as described above.
Troubleshooting Tips for Paleo Marshmallows
- There are lumps in the bloomed gelatin: It wasn’t bloomed properly. You can try to remove the lumps of the gelatin, or if there are too many you should start over with the gelatin process.
- If the egg white mixture hasn’t thickened up: Either the sugar syrup was not the proper temperature, or you haven’t whipped the egg whites long enough, or possibly the bowl had some grease in it. So If it isn’t looking thick and glossy, try whipping longer. And of course use a thermometer to make sure the sweetener has boiled enough! U
- The marshmallows are too sticky to work with: Use more starch! Marshmallows are super sticky and you need to coat them in enough starch in order to handle them. You can always dust off the starch after you have finished cutting them, but know that if there isn’t enough starch on them before you go to store them they could end up a sticky mess, so go heavy handed with the starch.
- The marshmallows are very wet: The batter was likely under whipped.
How to Store Paleo Marshmallows Made with Egg Whites?
Since there are egg whites in this recipes, this marshmallows cannot be stored indefinitely like marshmallows made with only sugar / corn syrup. Before storing, let the cut marshmallows “dry out” for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Store the well dusted marshmallows in an airtight bag / container for up to 1 week at room temperature. We doubt they will last that long anyways! If you find that the marshmallows have started to let out some moisture (which can happen naturally with homemade marshmallows, or sometimes the cause is under whipping the batter) take the marshmallows out of the bag and sift again with arrowroot and powdered sugar mixture and let dry before placing in another clean, dry container.
Options for Flavored Marshmallows
The possibilities are endless as to what you can add to the marshmallow cream mixture before you set, or even what you coat the marshmallows in at the end to flavor them. We tried out a few different add-in’s to flavor the marshmallows. Choose your add-in and fold them after the egg whites have thickened up. You can also divide the marshmallow mixture and make multiple flavors with one batch of marshmallows. You have to work quickly though because ones the marshmallow cream cools down it will set.
- Freeze Dried Fruit: We tried strawberries but bet any freeze dried fruit will work well here. Start with 1/4 cup crushed freeze dried fruit.
- Matcha Powder: About 1-2 tablespoons
- Espresso Powder: Start with a teaspoon and add more if needed
- Cinnamon: Start with 2 teaspoons and add more if needed)
- Cocoa: Add about 1-2 tablespoons
- Dried Ginger or Turmeric: Start with a 2 teaspoons for a batch
- Mint Extract (a few drops) and Chocolate Chips
Instead of coating with arrowroot, try coating with:
- Shredded Coconut
- Crushed Nuts
If you like this HOW TO recipe, check out these others:
- How to Make Maple Kettle Corn
- How to Make Coconut Milk Yogurt in the Instant Pot (Dairy Free)
- How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract
- How to Make Oatmeal (The BEST Method!)
How to Make Marshmallows
These Paleo Marshmallows are a surprisingly easy (and impressive) project, and also the very best tasting marshmallows you're likely to ever eat.
- Coconut oil spray, or equivalent
- Arrowroot starch (or a combination of arrowroot and organic powdered sugar if not strict paleo)
- 2 egg whites (60g)
- ⅓ cup + ½ cup water (divided)
- 3/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- pinch fine sea salt
- 2 tablepoons gelatin
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional add-ins (see post)
- To make square marshmallows: prepare a container for the marshmallows (see note). Lightly spray the container and then line it with two strips of parchment that fit the container to create a sling. Generously dust the container with arrowroot (or combo arrowroot and powdered sugar). Alternatively, to make traditional cylindrical marshmallows: line a sheet tray with parchment and generously dust with arrowroot. Set aside.
- In a clean mixing bowl for an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, add egg whites.
- In a large pot add ⅓ cup water, honey and maple syrup, in that order, being careful not to get any of the mixture on the sides of the pot. Turn the heat to medium and let the sugar mixture cook undisturbed.
- Meanwhile prepare gelatin: Add ½ cup water to a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the water and mix to moisten the gelatin. Let bloom (or hydrate) for at least 5 minutes. Once bloomed, add to the egg white mixture and briefly whip until the mixture is homogenized and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- When the the sugar syrup has reached 240°F, remove from the heat and let cool slightly, or until it has stopped bubbling, about 1 minute.
- Then very slowly and carefully pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites bowl, hitting the side of the bowl if possible, in a thin, steady stream.
- Once all of the syrup is in, increase the speed and continue to whip for 10-12 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and glossy and the mixing bowl is mostly cooled.
- Add in vanilla extract and whip for one one more minute. If you are adding in any optional add-ins, add them now.
- For square marshmallows: Working quickly pour mixture into the prepared container and smooth over. Dust generously with more arrowroot and let set for at least 4 hours until cutting. To cut remove from the container and cut with a pizza cutter that is greased with coconut oil. Dust again all the cut sides with more arrowroot, shaking off excess. For cylindrical marshmallows: Fill a piping bag with a large circular tip (or simply cut a piping bag) with the marshmallow mixture and pipe it in lines the length of the sheet tray until all the mixture is gone. Dust generously with arrowroot. Let set for 4 hours at room temperature. Cut with a pizza cutter that is greased with coconut oil into cyridrical shapes. Dust more with arrowroot, shaking off the excess before storing.
- Let the cut marshmallows dry out for at least 6 hours before storing in an air tight container or bag. Store for up to 1 week.
- The size of the pan you use to make the square marshmallows depends on how big you would like your square marshmallows. For a smaller marshmallow squares use a half sheet pan, or a 9x13 pan. For larger marshmallows use an 8"x8" or a 9"x9" pan.
How to Make Marshmallows (Paleo)
There are so many options out there for natural Easter egg dye using ingredients you have already in your kitchen and we’re showing you some of the options we loved with tips, tricks, and more!
Natural Easter Egg Dye
Did you know that it is so easy to naturally dye Easter eggs with food ingredients you likely already have in your pantry? It will be no surprise if you’ve been on this website for a while that we love to switch out artificial colors and unnecessary chemical additions to foods as much as we can, like these Naturally Colored Buttercream and these plant based decorated Sugar Cookies. If we wouldn’t eat a product with a long list of ingredients we can’t recognize why would we add chemicals in the form of artificial dyes to the food we make at home?
Some might say that you are just dyeing the outside of the egg: but anybody who has ever colored eggs know more often than not that color seeps in through the shell and colors the egg. So making festive colored eggs with actual FOOD coloring is a no-brainer. And honestly, it’s so simple and so FUN to experiment. You can create unique looking eggs that even will change color over time, the longer they sit. Kids and adults alike will find this holiday craft turned science experiment so fun!
How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally
Take a look in your pantry! We used white eggs, but you can experiment with brown eggs as they will have a different effect. All the eggs you see in these photos were dyed with these four foods:
- Beets (red/pink/brown): 1 large beet, diced + 2 cups water
- Red Cabbage (blue): 1/2 red cabbage, sliced + 2 cups water
- Red Onion Skins (deep orange/brown): Skins from 4 large onions + 2 cups water
- Fresh or Dried Turmeric (yellow): 1/4 cup sliced fresh turmeric or 2 tablespoons dried + 2 cups water
Other natural color suggestions:
- Blueberries (grey/blue): 2 cups frozen blueberries + 2 cups water (don’t boil this, just let it steep)
- Carrots (orange/yellow): 3 large carrots, sliced + 2 cups water
- Spinach or Parsley (green): 2 cups spinach or 1 bunch parsley + 2 cups water
- Yellow Onion Skins (orange): Skins from 4 large onions + 2 cups water
- Coffee (brown): 2 cups strong brewed coffee
Here is what you need to know to naturally dye eggs:
- Make the boiled eggs. We recommend using the water boiling or steaming method. Check out this post here. We normally love the Instant Pot for steaming eggs, but not here. We don’t recommend using the Instant Pot for colored eggs because they are more likely to crack in the food coloring. Let the eggs cool completely before coloring.
- Bring the food item in 2 cups of water up to a boil, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and let cool. Once cool add 2 teaspoons of vinegar.
- Gently drop the white eggs in the color. They must be completely submerged.
- The longer the eggs sit in the color, the more brilliant the color will be. Letting the eggs soak overnight yielded the best color for us.
- When you are ready to take the eggs out of the color, place a clean kitchen towel down and gently pull out the eggs and place on the towel, or you could place them on a wire rack to prevent and the towel from wiping off any of the color. Let it air dry, do not rub it. If you’d like to dip the egg again to get a darker hue do that once it has dried. In addition, if you want to combine colors to make different hues (think coloring an egg first yellow, then blue=green) now is the time to do it.
- Once completely dry you can gently rub it with oil to help prevent the color from changing. We found that some of the eggs changed colors over a few days time (especially the beet one). Do them the day before Easter if you’d like them to be as close to the color as you want as possible.
How to Make Green Naturally Dyed Eggs:
To make green we first dyed the egg with turmeric (yellow) and then dyed it with red cabbage (blue) to make the egg green!
Do you have to use vinegar to dye eggs?
Yes! Without going into all the science behind it, the short answer is that the added acid from the white vinegar brings it to the correct pH level needed for the dye to adhere to the egg shell. The approximate amount of vinegar needed is about 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of dye. We experimented by adding more vinegar to some of our dyes and we got a cool spotted effect.
How to Make Different Effects on Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs
- Add more vinegar: When we added more vinegar to the dye it created a bubbly effect which created the dots you see on our eggs.
- Dip for different lengths of time: You can try dipping the eggs for shorter periods of time. For our pink spotted eggs seen above we just briefly dipped the eggs in the beets for like 10 seconds and then let it dry.
- Double dipping eggs, depending on the different colors can create different effects. Honestly we had different results each time, so have fun experimenting.
- To create an ombre effect you can start dying a batch of eggs, and then every few hours take one of the eggs out of the dye.
Should eggs be cold or at room temperature for coloring?
You want both the boiled eggs and the natural dye to be cool during the dye process, so that not only do the eggs not overcook in the natural dye, but also for safety. Leave the eggs in the dye in the refrigerator overnight.
Don’t want to make your own dye but want to try naturally coloring eggs?
There are also a few different products on the market. Try these good brands:
Tools we used in this recipe:
Lastly, check out these other healthier Easter recipes:
- Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
- Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cookies
- Maple Glazed Ham
- Classic Mashed Potato
- Healthy Green Bean Casserole
How to Naturally Dye Easter Eggs Using Food
We’re deep diving into How to Make Body Scrub and giving you a few options so you can customize your DIY sugar scrub or salt scrub just how you want it! These DIY exfoliating body scrubs take ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen and turns them into a delicious scented scrub that leaves your skin moisturized and smooth, while saving you tons of money by making it at home!
How to Make Body Scrub
The LCK team has been using these DIY scrub for a few weeks now and have been loving it. Not only does it smell AMAZING, but it leaves your skin feeling rejuvinated and moisturized.
We love a good deep exfoliation, especially as spring is around the corner and the winter skin is coming in strong! We were in love with our Chocolate Coconut Body Scrub during the holiday season, so we wanted to expand! Making a body scrub at home is so simple and we’re going to give you the details on how to make body scrub using all natural ingredients, many of which can be found inside your pantry right now. You can customize them based off of your skin needs and use up to a few times a week!
Why is it important to exfoliate your skin
What are the benefits of exfoliating
- Helps remove dead skin cells.
- Your other products will work better since exfoliating your face eliminates the dead skin on top, it lets your cleanser, moisturizer and other products penetrate more deeply and work better.
- Can increase blood circulation (which helps you to achieve healthy and glowing skin)
- Unclog pores from dirt, blackheads, and other surface impurities so that new, healthy skin may flourish!
- Exfoliating helps skin turn over its top dermal layer more often, so you can address a multitude of problems such as dryness and flakiness.
Who benefits from exfoliation?
All skin types can benefit from a body scrub. Your skin type will depend on how often you use it. People with normal/dry skin might use an exfoliator 2-3 times a week, while people with more sensitive skin might use it just once a week. We don’t recommend using this at all on your face. This recipe for body scrub is intended for the body only (as the name suggests!)
Ingredients in a Body Scrub
A lot of commercially produce scrubs and exfoliators include common household ingredients like salt and sugar and oatmeal, but also contain a lot of other ingredients that may or may not be safe for your body. If you already own a body scrub, or have used one in the past you can check it’s safety from this website here. We love the idea of using household ingredients that can exfoliate and moisturize your skin naturally. Plus it’s so much more economical!
DIY Body Scrub
Start with a base ingredient, or the main exfoliant, and then add in your oil, followed by a few fun add-in options!
You can choose between sugar or salt. There are options below for how vigorous you want the exfoliation process to be.
- Brown Sugar: This is a a very soft exfoliant and as a bonus adds moisture.
- Coconut Sugar: This is a larger grain of sugar and is a rougher moisturizer. If using this, depending on your add-in you may need to use a bit more of the carrier oil (see below).
- Kosher Salt, or other large crystal of salt: This is a rougher exfoliator, and is particularly good with lemon.
- Pink Himalayan Sea Salt: This is the salt we keep around for cooking. It is a finer salt, so a more gentle exfoliant while also having the added benefit of the minerals it naturally contains.
These oils or carrier oils help the body scrub apply smoothly and helps moisturize the skin. You can use one of these or do a combination.
- Almond Oil: This is high in Vitamin E, can protect your skin from harmful UV radiation, and easily penetrates the skin which can help clean out your pores.
- Jojoba Oil: This oil is similar to the oil naturally found on your skin. It absorbs fairly quickly.
- Coconut Oil: This oil is an amazing moisturizer and has natural antibacterial properties.
- Avocado Oil: This is high in Vitamins A, D, and E and can help sooth inflammation.
- Olive Oil: Commonly found in our kitchens! It is heavier and absorbs slower on the skin. Be sure to use the best possible olive oil you can find (pure/cold pressed/organic).
Some of these have specific benefits for your skin while others simply add a pleasant scent that can help brighten your day.
Essential Oils (we like lavender, lemongrass, tea tree, lemon and peppermint but feel free to experiment)
Finely Ground Coffee (the caffeine and antioxidants are said to be good for your skin)
Lemon, Orange, or Lime Zest (this adds a bright scent!)
Ground Oatmeal (this is an added exfoliant, plus it soothes the skin)
Honey (this is a natural cleanser!)
Lemon Juice (a natural astringent, be careful using this with very sensitive skin)
Herbs & Spices (suck as thyme, rosemary or cinnamon)
Cocoa Powder (this is high in antioxidants)
Vitamin E Oil (is said to have anti-aging properties)
Aloe Vera (is said to be good on acne prone and dry skin and has anti-inflammatory properties)
Argan Oil (is a great moisturizer and can help with acne)
- Castille Soup (add this if you want your scrub to also double as a cleanser, we like Dr. Bronner’s)
How to use a body scrub
How to use them: Soften your skinin a warm shower for a few minutes, cleanse your body if desired, and then grab a dollop of the body scrub and gently scrub in a circular motion on clean, rough skin. Rinse completely. Moisturize afterwards! We recommend about once a week, but you can go up to 2-3 times a week to tackle really dry and rough skin.
Can you over exfoliate your skin
How to Make Body Scrub
- 1 cup sugar or salt
- ½ cup oil
- Add-ins (use 6-12 drops of essential oils if using, or about 2 teaspoons other add-ins)
- In a medium combine all ingredients and mix with a spoon until fully combined.
- Place gently (do not pack it down) in a jar with a tight fitting lid and use weekly or every few days on body.
- You can tweak your body scrub depending on how you you want it to feel and smell.
- Don't bring glassware into the shower. A reader wrote to us and shared a story of bring a glass jar in the shower and accidentally dropping it and cutting herself. So we wanted to spell this out that for safety reasons if you are using a glass jar keep it out of the shower. Or use a plastic container.
Want to make body scrubs as a gift?
Grab our free printable labels:
How to Make Body Scrub (& Why You Should Exfoliate!)
Corned Beef is more often purchased already brined than it is made at home, but using this easy Corned Beef Brine Recipe it’s so simple to DIY using our pickling spice mixture and beef brisket. We are skipping the nitrates and using whole ingredients you recognize and the best part is the taste of the final product is far superior than anything store-bought and is SO FUN to accomplish!
Corned Beef Brine Recipe
Did you know that you could make your own corned beef at home, starting totally from scratch? It’s so easy when you use this Corned Beef Brine Recipe, we promise! And honestly it results in the best tasting corned beef that is so incredibly flavorful–and you control what goes it in instead of putting in some strange spice package of unknown ingredients. Plus it’s one of those cool things to be able to say that you know how to brine your own brisket, right?
What exactly is corned beef?
Let’s start here, because some of you may have some questions! Corned beef is really just beef that has been preserved with salt, also known as brining. It’s flavored with the salt, spices and a bit of a sweetener which essentially means that you are pickling it, so think of it like pickled beef! The name corned beef comes from an old English way of referring to large granules of salt as “corns”, and therefor it just means salted beef, and there is not actually corn involved.
Most commercially prepared corned beef contains saltpeter, also known as sodium nitrate. The sodium nitrate is a curing salt that contributes to the pink color and cured flavor of corned beef. It also prevent the meat from spoiling or going rancid while it is curing. However, since the meat is cooked after it is brined it is not essential to use it. The use of nitrates and nitrites are controversial as to whether or not they are harmful in cured meats because cured meats typically contain such a small amount, and on average a person consumes larger amounts of naturally occurring sodium nitrates in vegetables like spinach, beets, celery and others. But in 2010 nitrates were declared a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization, so when possible we avoid buying meat with added nitrates. So for this recipe we skip the sodium nitrate all together since it is not needed, and instead used beet root powder to color the meat, though this is optional.
Why do we eat corned beef?
Corned beef is popularly cooked during the American celebration of all things Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. It can be called a corned beef dinner or a boiled dinner, which refers to the fact that corned beef is often slowly boiled with some vegetables. But if you dig a little deeper, our American tradition of corned beef actually has little to do with food that you might find in Ireland, and more to do with the corned brisket you would have found in a kosher Jewish deli at the turn of the century. Corned beef can also be thinly sliced and use in sandwiches such as pastrami, or then remade into several different recipes, like corned beef hash.
What is the best cut of meat for corned beef?
For this recipe we’re using a flat cut brisket! That cut of meat is ideal because it is contains a lot of fat (which equals flavor) and is generally tough, so the brining really helps transform it. You can also make corned beef from an eye round roast.
What is in the corned beef spice packet?
Honestly, anything can be in those spice packets that sometimes come with commercially produced corned beef. Which is why we advocate making your own (or buying a high quality one). For our corned beef pickling spice we use:
- juniper berries
- whole cloves
- bay leaves
- mustard seed
How long do you brine corned beef?
Traditionally brined corned beef with sodium nitrates can be brined for as long as 10 days. Because we were skipping it, we went with a smaller amount of time brining, about 5-6 days as there is enough salt in the brine to transform the meat in a shorter amount of days.
Why do you rinse corned beef?
This step is important! If the meat has been properly brined it has been infused with not only the flavor, but also the salt. Before you cook the meat you want to rinse it with cool water to remove all the excess salt. Similarly, you want to cook the corned beef in a ton of water to help bring out some of the salt. Don’t worry though ALL of the flavor of the spices is inside of the meat, and a properly brined beef doesn’t need additional spices during cooking because it’s infused inside of it.
How do you cook corned beef?
Traditionally corned beef is brought to a boil on the stove top and simmered for a few hours. Vegetables like cabbage, potato and carrots are added into the pot and they’re boiled in the flavorful stock until just tender. Another method of cooking it would be in the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours, depending on the size of the beef, and similarly vegetables added in. We’re talking all about how to cook it in the Instant Pot, which is our modern favorite way of cooking it over here in this post.
For this recipe, we used these tools:
- Large pot
- Plastic bag with a tight seal
- Large container to hold curing beef
If you like this DIY recipe, check out these others:
- DIY Best Ever Chicken Rub
- Homemade Mayo
- Elderberry Syrup
- Marshmallow Fluff
- How to Make Yogurt
- Cashew Cream
- Cold Brew Iced Coffee
Corned Beef Brisket Brine Recipe
Using this easy Corned Beef Brine Recipe it's so simple to DIY corned beef using our pickling mixture and beef brisket. We are skipping the nitrates and using whole ingredients you recognize and the best part is the taste of the final product is far superior than anything store-bought and is SO FUN to accomplish!
- 2 quarts water (preferably distilled / filtered)
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon mixed peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon juniper berries
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
- 3 dried or fresh bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon beet root powder (optional, see note)
- 3-4 lb. flat cut beef brisket
- In a large pot add all of the ingredients, except the beet root powder (if using), and bring to a boil. After all of the salt and sugar has dissolved shut off the heat.
- Let the mixture cool completely. You can let this happen naturally, or you can place the brine in an ice bath by placing the brine inside of a clean bowl and then placing that bowl inside of another bowl filled with ice water.
- Once the brine is cool place the beet root powder (if using) and brisket inside a 2 gallon plastic bag and place the bag inside of a large container that will catch any accidental drips. This container has to be able to fit inside of your refrigerator.
- Carefully pour all of the brine inside of the plastic bag and seal it. Lay the plastic bag flat inside of the container and place in your refrigerator for 5-6 days.
- Each day carefully turn the bag upside down to stir the brine and make sure all of the beef is submerged.
- Once ready to cook discard the brine and the spices and rinse the corned beef thoroughly.
- See this post for cooking instructions.
- Traditionally corned beef is cured using a salt that turns the brisket pink. We are purposefully skipping this salt, also known as sodium nitrate because it's been labeled a possible carcinogen and is not necessary in this recipe. Without the sodium nitrate the corned beef is rather gray. We experimented with adding beet root powder to help counteract that and found that the resulting corned beef wasn't super pink, but it did change the color a bit. This is totally optional, and might not be worth buying a package of beet root powder just for this purpose if you are never going to use it again.
Corned Beef Brine Recipe (Nitrate Free!)
Pumpkin Pie Spice is ubiquitous come the fall, and we’re not sad about it! Especially because it’s so easy to make your own DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice recipe and you get to control the quality of spices (and quantities) that are added to it! Plus, you’ll likely already have what you need on hand at home in your spice cabinet so you can make it right now!
Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe
I’m all about my pumpkin pie spice in the fall! There are so many great recipes, including so many on this site, that include this spice blend and it’s so simple to make your own DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice instead of purchasing a separate blend when you likely already have the ingredients in your spice cabinet!
The best part about making your own spice blend is that you can control the quality and quantity. When you are purchasing a bottle of it at the store there is always a chance you actually don’t like the taste because that brand may have more or less of the particular blend of spices they are using, and this has definitely happened to me before. If you happen to like one of those spices more than the other in our blend, you can increase or decrease the quantity by a little (start with 1/2 a teaspoon at a time) to suit your taste.
This DIY Pumpkin Spice Blend also makes a great gift! Place it in a cute jar, with a ribbon and homemade label and bring along as a hostess gift!
What spices are in pumpkin spice?
Our blend includes cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves! This matches the most common blend of spices you will find in the store! Once made store in a jar with a tight fitting lid for up to a year. After a year spices start to lose their potency, though they are still “safe” to consume.
How to use this Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe
Check out these recipes to use this pumpkin pie spice:
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Waffles
- Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
- Cranberry Pumpkin Crumble Muffins
- Easy Pumpkin Spice Coffee
- Sea Salt Chocolate Pumpkin Cups
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies
- Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Scones
- Nutella Swirl Pumpkin Muffins
- Pumpkin Smash Cocktail
- Pumpkin Sticky Bun Muffins
Like this DIY recipe? Check out these others:
Watch the video:
DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice
This DIY Best Ever Chicken Rub is the perfect gift to throw together for the griller in your family! Make a small or large batch, place the mix in a cute jar, and add it to a basket with BBQ tools for an awesome holiday gift this season!
DIY Gift Week Day 2!
Yesterday I shared the Espresso Candied Pecans, and today is the Best Ever Grilled Chicken rub from my cookbook! It is a staple. In fact, it’s the only grilled chicken I make! It’s flavorful and delicious. You can easily make a big batch and send it along with some grilling gear to the grill master in the family. I know I’d like that gift!
Throw together a little basket with the spice mix, these grilling tools, and maybe even a gift card to the local market or his/her favorite butcher!
What You’ll Need:
Mini Jars (any will do- adjust sizes based on quantity you are giving)
Printable Labels (these have all the info filled in for your grilling gift)
BBQ Tools (these would make a great gift!)
Card Stock (White) Card Stock (Brown)
Download your printable spice rub labels HERE.
Best Ever Grilled Chicken Rub
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- About ¼ cup wet rub [enough for 1 to 1½ pounds boneless chicken
DIY Best Ever Chicken Rub
These Espresso Candied Pecans are the perfect DIY gift giving treat! They are easy to make, and you can make large batches to package up for friends and family this holiday season!
Homemade Candied Pecans
Each day this week on Lexiscleankitchen.com you’ll find new DIY gifts that you can prepare for the holidays! Yes, Monday (today) through Friday, and man do we have good things planned for you.
I love making my own treats as gifts for people. It has such a wonderful personal touch, and with that you can save some money. A win-win! I’m kicking off DIY gift week with these candied nuts because they remind me of those delicious smelling nuts in the mall. Do you know those? That’s what my kitchen smelled like with each batch of these!
What you will need:
Download your free printable labels here!
Watch the video:
If you like this homemade edible gift idea, check out these others:
- How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract
- Easy Peppermint Bark
- Cherry, Coconut and Chocolate Granola
- Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
Espresso Candied Pecans
I am so excited to start sharing some details of our wedding planning with all of you wonderful people! The first post of the wedding planning series has to be our recent backyard engagement party! We added tons of DIY fun details that I am just so in love with.
So, the day: We had 75 of our closest friends and family at our house! We totally lucked out with the weather. I think I checked the weather.com app every 20 minutes for two weeks, but PHEW it was perfect- and not too hot! The day/night was filled with food, cocktails, laughter, new & old friends meeting, and so much more. It was just the best. I’m now even more excited for our wedding next summer, since so many people met and got to know each other!
We went back and forth about what to do catering for a few months (I decided me cooking was out- since I wanted to enjoy the party and would have so much to do prior already), and then Mike and I stopped into this little Mediterranean cafe when visiting Nashua New Hampshire and and fell in love with the food. We asked them if they’d deliver to Boston and they happily agreed!
We thought it would be the perfect food for an outdoor backyard party, a little more than the traditional BBQ, but still perfect for the summer weather. We had chicken, beef, lamb, grilled veggies, rice, salads, stuffed grape leaves, fresh pita, hummus, spinach squares, falafel, sauces, veggies, and more!
And now we can’t forget to mention the bar! On the table was my homemade sangria (recipe coming soon), boozy lemonade, pineapple-infused vodka, beer, wine, and mixed drinks!
Mmmmm, the cake! Last year for Mike’s birthday Lynn made his cake and NOBODY knew it was gluten-free & dairy-free (unless we told them ;)). We asked her to make the cake again for the party and I couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out. It was EXACTLY what we wanted! I ordered this cake topper, accented myself with the flowers, and there you have it!
I knew I wanted some little fun element to the party so of course had to bring LCK into the mix! Our Instagram cut-out & props were an absolute hit. I loved watching everyone have fun and get silly with it!
Now you’re likely thinking… what about THOSE SIGNS!!!!! The amazingly talented Jen, from Love Always Cards, made all the signs around the yard! From food & drink signs, to a large save the date sign hung in the tree; all of her signs added such an awesome touch to the yard. I highly recommend them and love how you can customize them however you want!
The final touch to the backyard party- Honey Jar Gifts! I am so excited that my favorite olive oil company, Kasandrinos, will be bringing honey to their website this Fall! All of our family & friends went home with some amazing, fresh, local honey from this family run business and they were just the cutest ever!
We threw some labels on them, tied the honey sticks with a burlap string and wa-la! Honey sign from Jen, of course!
Abigail from Abigail Kuzia Photography spent a few hours with us and these are ALL of her amazing photographs. She captured so many awesome moments and all of the details! She was super sweet, fun, and a pleasure to work with!
The Food: Mediterranean, Cedar’s Cafe
The Cake: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Marble Cake, Creative Cakes by Lynn
The Cake Topper: All Things Angela, Etsy
Honey Jar Gifts: Kasandrinos International
Instagram Cut-Out: Social Cut-Outs, Etsy
Signs: Love Always Cards, Etsy
Custom Napkins: Gracious Bridal, Etsy
Photographer: Abigail Kuzia Photography
Beverage Dispensers: Amazon
Globe Lights: Amazon
Chalk Board Sign: Save On Crafts
Bar Caddy: Amazon
A whole ‘lotta laughs!
Photographs © Abigail Kuzia Photography.
What is your best wedding planning advice?!
Our Backyard Engagement Party
You may have noticed that we moved last month. I shared pictures on Instagram of the process, I blogged less, and had long nights filled with quick meals and tons of shopping. It was all worth it and we are so happy in our new home.
Aside from the important things, like you know… paying a mortgage, dealing with the leak in the basement, etc., I’ve learned a few main things going from apartment living to being a homeowner: I will never take a driveway, backyard, and porch for granted! I mean seriously. What a game changer.
Our two main things we really wanted to find (aside from more space), were a yard and a nice big kitchen (obviously). Want to see where Lexi’s Clean Kitchen began a year ago?
After months of looking we walked into our home and knew it was the one. People always say ‘you’ll just know…’ well, it’s sort of true, and despite the offers that don’t get accepted and paths that often change, it all works out exactly how it should in the end.
Let’s talk kitchen, shall we? (See the bottom of the post for specifics)
The new faucet, soap dispenser, and sink came from my uncle’s store, C&L Plumbing Supply, in Long Island, New York. I fell in love with that faucet instantly! If you’re in NY, I highly recommend checking out my uncle’s store! It’s pretty amazing!
Valence curtains, breakfast nook bench, and art (I’m thinking copper pots) on that empty wall. Those will be the finishing touches! Update: Mike built a custom breakfast nook bench in the back!
The island stools are from Pottery Barn and all of the appliances are GE. Update: I am not in love with my GE appliances.
What we did:
1. Painted the walls: Benjamin Moore Windsbreath OC-24 (and removed old shelving on the walls)
2. Had the cabinets painted and replaced the hardware (similar to these). This was a big part of how we saved money and stretched our budget, keeping the old cabinets! The cabinets were pained with two coats oil-based paint. From everything we’ve learned, and anyone we’ve talked to about it, oil is the way to go for cabinet durability.
3. Redid the floors. Handsawn Oak Laminate Flooring, special order from Home Depot.
4. Granite countertops in Polar Vortex from Sudbury Granite (we were going for the White Carrera Marble look, without actually using marble). *UPDATE: 8/2017, our granite is damaged and has not held up well. Sadly we are looking into replacing with a quartz. If you have questions about my experience, message me as I don’t recommend the above.
5. White Subway Tile Backsplash
6. Custom Island from Valentino Designs Reclaimed Wood Furniture
7. The new faucet, soap dispenser, and sink came from my uncle’s store, C&L Plumbing Supply, in Long Island, New York.
And there you have it! Our kitchen remodel on a budget!
We kept the old cabinets, and didn’t make any major changes to the plumbing/orientation of the layout. Those were the two major ways we kept the costs low!
What’s left to do?
Mike’s building a breakfast nook bench alongside the window. I cannot wait for that! Lastly, valence curtains. I’m not sure how that’s the last thing I’ve waited to do!
Kitchen Remodel: Before and After
The months just keep flying by! May is already here, and this month for Healthy Food Friday I’m inspired by the idea of traveling around the world. You’ll see some flavors inspired by different cultures and cuisines this month!
Let me start by saying that I love all things SPICY. I put hot sauce and red pepper flakes on everything. Literally, everything. Last week I made a Honey Mustard Chicken Salad recipe; which will be coming to the blog in the upcoming weeks (see Instagram for a sneak peek). I typically add some cilantro and these roasted red peppers and it brings the dish to life! Since then, I am on a roasted red pepper kick. Whether it be roasted traditional red bell peppers or hot peppers, I am all about it!
Now… roasting your own peppers is way easier than you think. Follow these simple steps with your favorite peppers for a great addition to the condiment section in your refrigerator; and a definite flavor booster for some dips, salsas, toppings, and chicken dishes!
Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup from Seasonal and Savory
Hot Pepper Honey from The View from the Great Island
Baked Spaghetti Squash with Creamy Red Pepper Sauce from Two Peas and their Pod
Asparagus with Lemon, Mint, and Red Pepper from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Dip from Tasty Yummies
Roasted Red Pepper Soup from Overtime Cook
Thai Chili Garlic Sauce from Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream from Beard and Bonnett
Cherry Bomb Chicken from Sugar Dish Me
Red Hot Pepper Jelly from Kitchen Daily
Homemade Chinese Chili Oil from Everyday Maven
I was selected by American Express to contribute to their Tumblr community. As such I was paid for my services, but all opinions in general and about American express are my own.
How do you eat peppers? Hot? Roasted? Dried?
How to Roast Peppers
You will need
- 10 cups sliced peppers (you can use hot peppers or regular red bell peppers- I used Fresno Peppers)
- Clean and dry off peppers
- Cut off step and scoop out seeds
- Slice in half and lay facedown on a lined baking sheet
- Place oven on broil (high) and place banking sheet in the oven; broil until pepper skin has mostly burnt/turned black
- Transfer peppers to a ziplock bag; close and let steam inside the bag for 10 minutes
- Remove from bag and peel off the skin! Store in a jar in the fridge.