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Parsley Cashew Lemon Balm Pesto
I fully admit that this recipe came to me out of pure necessity of needing to find something to do with all the parsley and lemon balm that exploded in my garden in the past few weeks.

But that’s the beauty of pesto – it’s a creative herbal condiment that you can make with any number of ingredient combinations. I’m basically turning my garden into a spice cabinet every time I concoct a new pesto recipe.

What I’m trying to say is, don’t limit your pestos to basil season! There are so many other ways you can make this delicious sauce, and you are filling your body with antioxidants and antimicrobial ingredients every time you do so.

Want even more inspiration? Check out the video I made for Floral Walnut Pesto.

Parsley Cashew Lemon Balm Pesto

  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (like these)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon balm
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ lemon, juiced

In a food processor, pulse the cashews, garlic, and nutritional yeast until ground up. Add in the parsley, lemon balm, and olive oil and process until it comes to a pesto consistency. Dribble in the lemon juice and process until thoroughly mixed.

Use immediately or store in a mason jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze it for much longer. My friend freezes pesto in an ice cube tray to use for a quick dinner one night.

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Summer Body Scrub

Can you feel summer peeking its sunny little head around the corner each morning and evening? It’s like, with each extra minute of light we get, the promise of summer’s playfulness and joy grows stronger in our bellies. I find myself yearning for iced drinks in fancy glasses and picnic blankets on sweet smelling grass.

Summer is coming, and though the transition from Spring doesn’t feel as rough as it might have felt coming from winter, it still is a major transition – in nature and in your body.

This scrub is designed for you to slough off the excess skin cells that lingered in the springtime months and transition your body towards the succulence and radiance of summer sunshine.

A quick note on the ingredients:
Sugar – A soft enough abrasive to exfoliate your skin without irritating it.
Sunflower Oil – Fill of antioxidants to nourish the skin.
Lemon Juice – The citric acid also helps as an exfoliant.
Rosemary – Helps with blood circulation.
Lavender – Anti-bacterial and smells like heaven.
Mint – Stimulates the skin.

Summer Body Scrub

Spring to Summer Body Scrub

  • 1 cup sugar (I used organic sugar, but the white stuff is good too)
  • 1 cup sunflower oil (like this)
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp fresh rosemary, ground
  • ½ tsp fresh or dry lavender, ground
  • ½ tsp fresh mint, ground

Using a coffee or spice grinder, combine the rosemary, lavender and mint and grind up into a fine powder.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, lemon juice and powder. Mix around thoroughly and spoon into a sealable jar.

To use, first allow shower steam to warm and moisten the skin. Grab some scrub in your hands and, starting at your feet, work your way up your body scrubbing in circular motions. Once you’ve scrubbed your whole body, allow it to sit on the skin for a few minutes before washing off and patting dry with a towel.

Your shower floor might feel a bit slippery afterwards. Simply use a dry towel to wipe up the excess oil and you should be safe for another shower.

Store in a sealed container in your bathroom. Should be good for 2 months.

Summer Body Scrub

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Natural Homemade Bug Spray

Let’s talk a bit more about natural bug repellants, shall we?

As you may know already, conventional bug sprays contain some nasty toxic things like DEET, which is linked to skin irritation, neurological impacts, and is known to spread to other animals and in our water supply.

But here’s the thing, DEET-based bug sprays aren’t the only way to keep bugs from biting you. It’s true, conventional and toxic doesn’t always mean it’s the only effective solution.

I’ve been dabbling in making natural bug sprays over the last few years, and recently came across a formulation I really like. It smells good and totally works, though I admit I need to reapply throughout the day.

The ingredients include lemon, lavender, eucalyptus, and lemon essential oils for natural bug repelling properties, vanilla extract (also known for keeping fruit flies away), and vegetable glycerin to be gentle on the skin.

Natural Homemade Bug Spray

Natural Bug Spray

  • 1 4-oz glass spray bottle (I like to get mine from Specialty Bottle)
  • Filtered water
  • Witch Hazel
  • 1 tbsp vegetable glycerin (like this)
  • 5 drops vanilla extract
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil (like this)
  • 5 drops lemon essential oil (like this)
  • 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil (like this)
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil (like this)

Fill your glass bottle halfway with water, then a quarter-way more with witch hazel (leaving a quarter left). Spoon in the vegetable glycerin, followed by the vanilla extract and essential oils (use a dropper to measure out the vanilla – use too much and you’ll feel sticky and smell like a cookie). Screw on spray cap and shake to mix thoroughly.

Spray on skin before going into buggy territory.

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Handmade Citronella Candle

Maybe it’s the fact that it feels like, all of a sudden, the sun has decided to stay out way past dinnertime or maybe it’s the fact that I just came home from a land where I was covered in bug bites, but I am in the mood for natural bug repellents.

Enter citronella, the bug-repelling grass that keeps those pesky mosquitos away. I recently got my hands on some citronella essential oil and have been brainstorming ways to include it in my summer stash. First up: an easy beeswax citronella candle you can make at home.

Handmade Citronella Candle

Citronella Candle

  • Organic beeswax pastilles (like these)
  • Double boiler (or bowl that can fit into a saucepan)
  • 1 container for the candle (I used an old almond butter jar, but this could be fun with leftover tin cans)
  • Thermometer (this candy thermometer would work)
  • 1 candle wick (I like these)
  • 2 chopsticks and tape
  • 40 drops citronella essential oil (like this)

Create your water bath with a double boiler or saucepan filled with water and glass bowl over it. Measure two times the beeswax as the size of your final candle container and pour into the water bath to melt.

While your wax is melting, secure your wick at the bottom of your candle jar and secure with 2 chopsticks and some tape.

Once the wax is melted, take it off heat and let sit (with the thermometer) in until it gets to 125F (this prevents cracking and shrinking once the wax gets into the container). Once it’s at 125F, add in 40 drops of citronella oil and pour into the candle container.

Let candle cool completely, then snip your wick.

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Sage & Chive Blossom Infused Vinegar

I’m always in some sort of learning phase with gardening. I have “dabbled” in both container and backyard gardening for many years now. But, with each year, I come across several new delightful (and some not so delightful) lessons that nature is always teaching.

Last week, it came in the form of blossoming herbs! After being away from home for 3 weeks, I came home to find both my sage and chive were blossoming, which got me so excited because I knew they were edible. The sage blossom has a bit of a spicey flavor while the chive blossom kinda tastes like garlic and onion. Kind of amazing, right?

The next question was, what to do with these flowers? I thought about sprinkling them on salads or decorating a cake with their pretty purple blooms. But ultimately, my intuition told me what to do…and she said “put those blossoms into vinegar!”

Sage & Chive Blossom Infused Vinegar

So let’s talk about infusing vinegar for a second, because it feels like this secret magical world of infusing that you need to know about.

Vinegars can be used for everything from marinades to salad dressings to face and hair washes – and most of them can be used for all at the same time.

And the beauty of vinegar is that it not only brings flavor to your food, but it also inhibits growth of bacteria, heals the skin, and extracts minerals from foods for maximum absorption. If any of you make bone broth, you know to add a bit of vinegar to the mix to extract more nutrients out the bones.

You can infuse any vinegar with any variation of fruits and herbs, but today I’m using my garden blossoms and good ol’ amazing apple cider vinegar.

Sage & Chive Blossom Infused Vinegar

  • 1 glass jar
  • ¾ jar’s worth of chopped fresh sage and chive flowers
  • Raw apple cider vinegar (enough to fill the jar)

Fill your glass jar with the flowers three-quarters of the way full. Pour vinegar over the flowers, filling to the very top – making sure that the vinegar covers the flowers fully. Seal the jar tightly and place in a cool, dark place for 1 moon cycle (28 days), shaking it once in a while and adding more vinegar if the flowers have soaked it up and there’s room for more liquid.

Once infused, decant the solid bits from the infused vinegar using a strainer or cheesecloth. Compost the ingredients and now you have your flower infused vinegar.

Store in a cool, dark place and your vinegar should last up to a year.

Sage & Chive Blossom Infused Vinegar

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