An Uncomplicated Life Blog

Monday, February 27, 2017

What Is Lemon Essential Oil Good For?

Lemon essential oil is one of the most affordable and widely used oils, but what specifically is it good for?

I love my essential oils. I love seeing how they improve me and my family's wellness, I love making DIYs with them and I love learning about their history. Oh you thought essential oils were a recent fad? Nahuh, they're been used for thousands of years! Every now and again, I'll look at an oil I haven't used in a while and think, "Hmmm. What's this one good for?" I started this series with lavender, and explained 10 great uses for that oil. Seriously, lavender is the jack of all trades in the essential oil world! Up next? Lemon. Lemon is a close second to lavender for being useful in a wide variety of needs. Check out what lemon essential oil is good for:

Top uses for lemon essential oil

For mood (anxiety and depression): Inhaling lemon essential oil, as well as other citrus oils, can boost your immunity, induce relaxation, and reduce depression according to a 1995 study by Mile University. You can diffuse your essential oils with a diffuser for easier inhalation. The one I just linked is SO pretty, it will fit right into any room!

Nausea: When I was in my first trimester with Otto, I'd keep a bottle of lemon with me at all times! When the nausea would get really bad (usually when I was driving) I'd wave it under my nose. The bright, clean scent took away all mild to moderate nausea for me. Sometimes I would just sit and hold the bottle of lemon under my nose. I looked ridiculous, but I never threw up once while pregnant with him!

Immunity from the common cold: Lemon essential oil is an immune stimulant. There are studies that suggest it may increase your white blood cells. The best way to get these benefits is to consume it. Add a drop or two to your water (this glass water bottle can go with you everywhere), use it to flavor foods as you cook, or add it to a capsule and consume as a dietary supplement.

Clearing up acne: Because of the natural antibacterial properties of the acidic citrus, lemon also works great to clear up acne. I made this DIY acne clearing toner, which is a great way to apply it to your skin to get the benefits! I'd note however, that lemon shouldn't be applied to skin that will be exposed to direct sunlight, as you'll get a sun burn. Use common sense, and wear sunscreen.

Cleaning: Ever notice how cleaning supplies are often lemon-scented? Well that's synthetic lemon, but it's used because lemon has been used for it's antibacterial and antiseptic properties for thousands of years. I love my thieves cleaner because all I have to do is dilute it, and I love adding a few drops of lemon. Lemon essential oil is also a great air purifier if you diffuse it. Diffuse it in bathrooms, kitchens and/or near dog beds or in mud rooms - anywhere that could use a bit of freshness. This essential oil is also a wonderful de-greaser. If you've cooked a meal that's done a number on your pots and pans, add a few drops to your favorite dish soap to help get those dishes squeaky clean.

Laundry: I go to yoga or barre class four to five times a week, and I'm guilty of staying in those workout clothes for the remainder of the day. Gross, I know, but this mama doesn't always have time to change! My workout clothes, like all athletic wear, can get stinky. You know that smell I'm talking about? Add a few drops of lemon essential oil to your laundry detergent to get that stink out!

Best ways to use lemon essential oil

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Lemon essential oil has so many great uses. It's really the best oil for cleaning and freshening almost anything, in my opinion. It's bright scent also functions as a fantastic mood booster. Best of all, it's one of the most affordable oils out there! Lemon (in addition to lavender) is a great oil to start with if you're just getting into essential oils. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Kidz Katch Keeping Floors Clean

Kidz Katch is a new gadget every parent with a self-feeding baby needs!

This post is sponsored by Kidz Katch. All opinions are my own.

First off, can I just say it took every ounce of my being to not spell clean with a K to make my title catchier. It really did! But, SEO told me not to. Anyway, Kim from Kidz Katch reached out to me and told me about the product she had just created. I was so excited to see a mom launching her business and going after her dreams! Also, her product fit my needs perfectly: I have a 14 month old self-feeding baby. That means I have food being thrown on the floor constantly. CONSTANTLY. When Otto decides he's done, he "tells" me by throwing the remainder of his food on the floor. He also misses his mouth or accidentally drops food too. Meal times are messy with self-feeding babies, but that's where Kidz Katch comes in to keep your floors clean.

After Henry was born, we managed to still go out to eat at least once a week. We took him everywhere with us! He was a chill and content baby and was easy to take places. Plus, if on the rare occasion he did become a handful, one of us could still eat while the other one managed him. After Otto was born, we went out a few times and quickly learned that going out with two children is completely different than one. Like, a whole different level. My husband would manage Henry, who by this time wanted to spend his time walking around and exploring the restaurant while I stayed with Otto, trying to balance a bottle in his mouth while I attempted to eat my food before it got cold.

In those early months with Otto, it just wasn't worth going out. I don't even think my husband and I talked; we just jockeyed the kids. Enter the phase of our lives where we became take out pros. There was a solid eight to ten months when we never, ever went out; we would only order and bring it back to our home. That's a sad way to live, trust me!

Now that Otto is 14 months old, eating solid foods on his own and is walking, we've started to venture out again. And good news! It's fun again. Still not as easy as taking one kid out, but both boy's are fairly self sufficient, at least enough so that hubs and I can eat our food and maybe even have a conversation.

This adorable face has kept us home bound for too many months - time to break free!
What isn't fun is the mess we leave behind when we go out. Now, we only go to kid friendly places but still! It's like a beach of food bits where ever the boys have sat. We're mindful of how they behave but that doesn't stop the stray tator tot from falling, or a bit of grilled cheese from not making it into a mouth.

Kidz Katch works amazingly to "katch" all those flying food bits. It fits in my purse and then easily unfolds, slides onto the high chair (yes, even the ones they have at restaurants!). I had this thing on Otto's chair in less than 30 seconds. Plus the inside Velcros to the outer ring so that there is no exposed place for food to fall onto the floor from. It covers all your child's messy eating bases! We took it to our favorite taco shop after a yoga class, and Otto was able to enjoy his quesadilla in full force. And when we left, the wait staff wasn't glaring at us for how big of a mess was made! I just wiped it down with a napkin and threw away the food bits that dropped, then folded it back up and put it in my purse. It made going out to eat easy, fun, and mess free.

This will work on your high chairs at home too. It's so easy to take on and off, and folds up small enough for a drawer or can be put in a purse like I did to bring it to the restaurant with us. The waterproof material is easy to wipe down or to spray with a cleaner. It's so much easier cleaning up after a meal - I can take it to the sink and dump it down the garbage disposal as opposed to getting on my hands and knees and wiping up the floor.

Quesadilla success with Kidz Katch
Kids change everything. Including how and where you eat your meals! Babies can make a massive mess, and it's especially challenging (and embarrassing) at a restaurant, even kid friendly ones. Make life easier on yourself and tote along one of these Kids Katch food-catchers to keep your floors clean and messes contained.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Roasted Corned Beef and Cabbage

Try roasting your St. Patrick's Day corned beef and cabbage for more flavor

When I was in my 20's, St. Patrick's Day was all about day drinking. I went to graduate school in Savannah, GA, which has one of (if not THE) biggest St. Patty's Day parades and festivals, and we'd start at 7am and go until well after dark. I can't hang like I used to, so St. Patrick's Day has morphed into maybe (mayyybeeee) going to the Dallas parade where one or two drinks is consumed, making this roasted corned beef and cabbage recipe, and calling it a day. Oh, adulthood.

Delicious finished product: Roasted Corned Beef and Cabbage

Here's the thing about corned beef and cabbage: It CAN be really, really good. But if you take the raw meat and put it right in some boiling water (the traditional way to make it) it's gross. When I told my husband I was going to make corned beef and cabbage, he wrinkled his nose and said, "Um, I'm not a cabbage guy", indicating he was not going to eat it. After I browned it, roasted it with some veggies for two hours, and then boiled it with the cabbage, he literally ate three bowls of it for supper.

This method of roasting your corned beef and cabbage really brings out the flavor! And the meat gets fall-apart tender. Make it this year as you celebrate the luck of the Irish!

Roasted Corned Beef and Cabbage
- Beef brisket with corned beef seasoning packet
- 3-4 red potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces with the skin left on
- half a head of cabbage, cut into large bite sized pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into large pieces
- 3 carrots, diced, or about three handfuls of the ready to eat peeled carrots
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- water
- salt and pepper

In an oven safe dutch oven (I use and LOVE this one - this is my most used pan in the house!), brown the brisket in the olive oil on high heat. Depending on how your meat is cut, brown as many sides of the brisket as possible. (I had three sides that were large enough to be browned on the cut of meat shown in these photos, for example.) Salt and pepper the brisket as you brown it.

Browned brisket about to go into the oven to roast with some onions
Heat oven to 325. Once the meat is brown, add the onion. It's ok to leave it in large pieces as it will cook down. Bake for an hour, then add one of the diced carrots or one handful of the ready to eat carrots, and roast for another hour.

Put the corned beef back on the stove after roasting for several hours
After it's fork-tender, add all the veggies

After two hours in the oven, put it back on the stove over medium-low heat. Dutch ovens are awesome for their ability to go from stove top to oven and back, right?! Add water enough to cover the brisket half way, and add the corned beef seasoning packet. Cook covered for another hour or two, until the meat falls apart with a touch of a fork. Once tender, add the remaining carrots, potatoes and cabbage. Cook until the veggies are tender, about 30 minutes.

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Roasting your corned beef before boiling it adds so much flavor!
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It's not a quick process to make this roasted corned beef and cabbage recipe, but the nice thing is that you can get it started, head out to a St. Patrick's Day parade, then come home and finish it up! The roasting adds loads of flavor and adding potatoes and carrots makes it a bit more substantial and more like a complete meal. Which may be necessary if you're pretending you're Irish for a day. Enjoy!