The Rising Spoon

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Monday, August 18, 2014

How to Make Peppermint Extract

homemade peppermint extract

Before I left for my trip abroad in early July, the few houseplants I owned were flourishing. Well, at least for me. My little balcony faces Northeast, so is not in an ideal location for gardening.

Last summer I had one cherry tomato plant that only bore 2-3 tomatoes, so I thought it was a dud. But I didn't give up on it. Come wintertime, I brought it inside and managed to keep it alive until late spring by giving it a bit of water and what little light filtered through our blinds. 

It not only survived, but gave me quite a bit of fruit this summer. Until the birds and squirrels ate them all! At least something enjoyed them...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Simple Introduction to Essential Oils: What They Are, Why They're So Popular & How to Use Them

A Simple Introduction to Essential Oils: What They Are, Why They're So Popular & How to Use Them |

Essential oils are experiencing a surge in popularity right now. Within my natural living circles, it seems like everyone is discovering their effectiveness and incorporating essential oils into their home. 

I attribute this to a rise in mindful living. Folks are growing more conscious of the foods they're eating (reading labels, investigating sources) and this in turn influences all other aspects of their health.

How My Essential Oil Journey Began

About two years ago I started buying a bottle or two from the health food store and used them as a natural scent for craft projects like homemade sugar scrub and scented drawer sachets. Then, last fall, I purchased my first bottle of therapeutic-grade essential oil and was HOOKED. 

But, it wasn't until April of this year (after I had TWO bad experiences with an organic lavender essential oil from the health food store) that I decided to invest in my health and switch to using all therapeutic-grade essential oils from a company who was 100% transparent with the process and owned their own farms.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Monthly Link Love: July 2014 Edition

Monthly Link Love: July 2014 Edition

Is your summer flying by, foodies? Since I went out of town for part of July, it feels like that to me. And the weird part is I came back mid July to mild Texas weather. 

No blazing hot 110 degree days, but 70 and 80 degree temps, interspersed with clouds and rain. 

It's downright enjoyable

That darned Polar Vortex is jumbling everything up. Obviously, I'm more than okay with the current outcome.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

How to Make a Good Sandwich at Home + Chicken Sandwich with Heirloom Tomato and Avocado on Sourdough

How to Make a Good Sandwich at Home + Chicken Sandwich with Heirloom Tomato and Avocado on Sourdough

It's the height of summer, which means one thing: you should be making lots of sandwiches! 

Not what you were expecting to me say? 

Fact: the perfect sandwich recipe (if there is such a thing) is made with super fresh ingredients. 

It's an ensemble dish, which means that each ingredient is important. Every bread slice, tomato chunk, mustard squirt, and ham hunk works together to form a collective deliciousness

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes |

This is a heavily modified version of my signature pasta recipe. I've never managed to write down the ingredient measurements for the original dish--mostly because I always add them by hand and adjust by taste. 

Even now in this adapted version, I won't provide strict guidelines for using the dried herbs. I urge you to sprinkle, taste, and adjust to your liking. Or, make substitutions based on what's in your pantry and fridge. 

Although, I must point out that the lemon juice and dried oregano are key flavors.

Friday, July 25, 2014

How to Make Lip Balm with Olive Oil

How to Make Lip Balm with Olive Oil

After my first adventure making homemade lip balm with coconut oil, I decided to experiment until I achieved a medium-firm lip balm. Something that still felt smooth going on, but was firm enough that I didn't have to apply it as often. 

My initial thought was to simply increase the beeswax in the recipe, but I decided to try a different oil this time around, so I could see how it affected the overall smell. 

In my first recipe, the primary ingredient was coconut oil, which made it super glossy, but also smell like coconuts. I don't have a problem with this (and think it pairs nicely with peppermint essential oil), but I know some folks dislike coconut products or are allergic to them. 

So, I decided to give extra virgin olive oil a go. It was sitting on the kitchen counter at the time, so why not?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Photo Essay: My Recent Travels in Northern Europe (Part One)

Photo Essay: My Recent Travels in Northern Europe (Part One)

A few days ago I returned from my first trip abroad. To say that I was ecstatic for a chance to travel anywhere overseas is an understatement.

Thanks to the generosity of my boyfriend's parents, both of us were able to tag along with them to London, England where we stayed for a few days near Hyde Park before hopping on a cruise in Dover, England to western Norway. The seven day cruise stopped at four ports (Bergen, Geiranger, Ă…lesund, and Eidfjord) along the fjords.

Before leaving, I made sure to pack sturdy walking shoes, my essential oils, versatile clothes for cool and warm weather, and a thick book for the 8+ hour flight.

Most importantly, I brought a positive attitude, open mind, and a hearty appetite. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Monthly Link Love: June 2014 Edition

Monthly Link Love: June 2014 Edition

For my American readers, I hope you're enjoying the holiday! 

If you find some quiet time in between barbecues, watermelon slices, cold beverages, bottle rockets, and sparklers, check out the links below for a hodgepodge of mouthwatering recipes and interesting articles + a recap of what you might have missed here on The Rising Spoon.