Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Detox Foot Soak

Okay, we are going to start things off today by reminding everyone that I am not a doctor, so anything I use and love on here might be great for me, but not great for you.  There is no medical advice being dispensed here at N&N.  I am just a mama that worries about pretty much everything in life, leading to a lot of stress.  So I like to find things that give me moments to relax and hopefully do something good for my body at the same time.

Like yoga, but without all the pain.  And the breathing through the pain.  I want the benefits of yoga, with minimal breathing through the pain.

Like I said, I'm a worrier.  A stresser.  Give me a situation and I can always find something to worry about.  It's a bad habit, one that I am constantly trying to work on, but I'm pretty sure there is a little rung on that DNA ladder that is labeled stress, and in my makeup that rung is close to the top.  And we all know that worry pollutes your body and your mind and robs you of precious minutes of life that will never be gotten back.

So when I started researching detox baths about a year ago, I was all over it.  Finding a way to pull toxins from food and stress and, well, LIFE out of my body?  Yes, please. 

It isn't like I'm overflowing with toxins from food.  I eat relatively well, if you can get past the Skittles.  And the coffee.

(Full disclosure: I have all but given up the Skittles.  I don't remember the last time I had some.  Coffee, on the other hand, is never going away, so get used to that, people.  A world without coffee is a sad and soulless place.  Kind of like a world without bread.)

I don't drink a lot of soda.  I try to keep to foods made from ingredients that I can pronounce.  Maybe even ingredients I can find in my own kitchen.  I eat lots and lots of fruits and vegetables.  But I also know that between the worrying and stress, and the bit of junk that I do eat, there are plenty of toxins hanging out in my system that are slowing me down, making me less healthy.

And detox baths seemed to help with that a fair amount.  I mean, I think they did.  Who am I to say (not a doctor, remember?)?  My skin was better.  My energy level was better.  But it took a chunk of time to do it.  If I want to soak in a bath for half an hour, I have to wait until Noodle and Nugget are both in bed and asleep.  And I had better have all my blog stuff done, and the kitchen cleaned up before attempting a detox bath because I am quite literally useless after one of those things.  I can pretty much roll myself into bed and that is it.  Seriously.  That.  Is.  It.

So when I found Tidy Mom's Lime and Mint Foot Soak on Pinterest, it inspired me to try scaling down my detox bath to a detox foot soak!  The bath recipe that I was using is perfect as a foot soak too, and we all know that feet are a great portal to the systems of your body.  So, without further ado, here is the recipe I use for a detox foot soak.

It starts with one cup of Epsom Salts:

To the salts I add several drops of Grapefruit essential oil. 

I use grapefruit for a lot of reasons, but the main reason is because it makes me smile.  When we were building the house, and I was stressing like a fiend, I used to put grapefruit oil on my pillow at night to keep my anxiety down while I slept.  Otherwise, I was a mess.  I would wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep.  It was awful.  Grapefruit made it less awful, more happy.  Because grapefruit is a happy smell.

Unless you hate grapefruit.  Then it's a terrible smell.  Sorry about that.

For detox purposes, it would probably be more useful to use Lemon or Rosemary or Helichrysm, but I like grapefruit.  End of story.

Then, the thing that makes it a serious detox soak - clay.

Bentonite clay, to draw the impurities from my body.  Because, seriously, bentonite clay can be used for so many things, and a detox foot soak is just one of them.  It can be mixed with water to make a paste that can be used on cuts, bites, stings, burns, rashes... you name it.  I got turned on to it over at One Good Thing By Jillee, and that woman knows a good thing when she finds it!

So, adding clay to my foot soak seems like a great way to get some detox into my relaxation.  I added about 1/4 cup of clay to my mix.

Now, here's where it becomes a little bit of a fail.

To make it pretty I decided to add some citrus zest, like Tidy Mom did.

See, isn't that pretty.  Problem?  When you add it to the clay/salt mixture, the clay coats the zest, making it not so pretty, just kinda lumpy.

Which makes it really rather unappealing.  And the zest is totally useless if it's going to get coated and ugly, so feel free to leave that out.

Oh well!  Moving on!

I filled a tub with some warm water.  Actually, let's be real here.  It was blazing hot water, and I might have scalded my feet a fair amount in this process.  But when doing a detox bath, it is recommended to have the water as hot as you can stand it, to make you sweat all the ick out.  (Totally technical explanation, yes?)  So I just went with that, and came away with lobster red, fully detoxed, feet.

I added my clay/salt mixture to the water...

 ...and stirred and stirred until I was reasonably sure the epsom salts had dissolved.  

The whole thing was a cloudy mess, thanks to the clay, but I knew that for my purposes it didn't have to be pretty.  It just had to work.

I hauled the whole thing out to the front porch to enjoy my soak for as long as I could before Noodle and Nugget descended on me. 

Please note the clay already dried to my ankles and lower legs.  Attractive.

Which turned out to be about 3.7 blissful seconds.  Then I was barraged with questions.

"Ewwww!  What is that?!"

"Can I try it?"

"Why are your eyes closed?"

"Are you asleep?"

"Why are you sitting out here?"

"Will you get me some water?"

"I have to pee!"  (Less of a question, more of a warning).


So, while I managed to pull off soaking for about 10 minutes, it was neither quiet nor relaxing.  But even that short period of time did yield some detox results.  How do I know?  Because I had a feeling of noodleness similar to what I experience when I take a full detox bath.  Of barely being able to drag myself through the rest of the day, but on a lesser level. If this had been a full blown detox bath, I would have been completely unable to stay awake, much less upright, until bedtime.

Oh well, at least the view was good while I was failing to relax!

Do you have a quick detox method?  Share it with me!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

What I Learned While Camping In My Front Yard

Happy Monday!!

Just kidding.  I'm not a fan of Monday.  Though I do hope you have a good one.  But I did have a great weekend, so let's talk about that, wanna?

What did you do this weekend?  We did all manner of things.  First I have a quiz for you.

What do you get when you combine a water balloon filler:

Water balloons:

A Noodle and a Nugget:

(What can I say?  The kid just likes to wear a life jacket)

And a trampoline:


You get hours of entertainment, that is what you get!  And it looks like this:

Throw in a crazy dog and a kiddie pool, and you get complete chaos.

At least that's what you get at my house.  Chaos.  On pretty much any day, actually.

Don't let the puppy dog eyes fool you.  It's chaos.

So, we camped out in our front yard on Saturday night.  Yup, I did say FRONT yard.  Now, just so that you don't get the idea that we are weirdos that are bent on attracting trouble by basically sleeping in public rather than the obscurity of our BACKyard, let me remind you about where I live:

See all that nothing behind Noodle and Nugget?  Just picture it all around us.  ALL around us.

Right.  And let me just tell you about the fact that while we managed to throw in some landscaping in the front yard so that we don't look entirely like we just plopped a house out in the middle of a sage field, the backyard is still a dirt pit, that has no business housing either tents or people.

So, naturally, we camped in the front yard.  And so, for slightly less than 12 hours, this was our home:

In front of our real home, see that?  Which is kind of ideal, as we got the benefits of nature while having indoor plumbing and a truly fabulous coffee maker mere steps from the entrance of our tent.

Noodle and Nugget were so excited about this turn of events that they immediately went inside to gather "supplies".  Here are some things that my kids consider essential when camping in the front yard.  First off, books:

 Then there are the fuzzy slippers:

 And the stuffed animals:

 And camp chairs, naturally:

 And, my personal favorites, the pop gun...

...and wooden sword... protect us from zombies coyotes.  And anything else that might come snooping.  Good thinking, kiddos!

And I learned a few things while camping in my front yard, which include but are not limited to:

1.  Small Nuggets and fully grown husbands would do well to bring both hoodies and beanies into the tent at bedtime to prevent getting up for them in the wee hours of the morning to keep their shaved heads and naked necks from freezing in our mountain air.

2.  A double wide sleeping bag, while roomy and kind of cute, is not the warmest place to sleep if you want to roll over at any point in the night.

3.  When your cold Nugget climbs into your double wide sleeping bag with you and your husband, just accept the fact that you won't be turning over for the rest of the night, because every time you do you will let the cold air into the bag, waking up Nugget and launching him on a 5 minute tirade about how FREEZING he is.  It will involve crying.  Possibly for you both.

4.  Twister will bark at pretty much anything.  He'll bark at the wind, at the sound of you trying to roll over without waking up Nugget (which will wake up Nugget), at the sound of any person in the tent snoring or breathing audibly, at crickets chirping, at the cat meowing from the house window closest to the tent, he'll even bark at the sound his tail makes when he wags it in his sleep.  He won't, apparently, bark at actual animals in the area.  He will, though, bark at your neighbor 100 yards away the second he walks out his back door in the morning.

5.  No matter how pathetic the cat sounds, don't try to bring him in the tent with the rest of you.  He will be completely freaked out over the fact that he can see the outdoors but not actually walk into it, and will pace the tent, going from sheer panel to sheer panel trying to figure out how to get into the outside.  This will culminate with him making a flying leap at the topmost sheer panel thinking it's a way out, sinking his front claws into the sheerness of the panel, and hanging there, dangling over a sleeping Noodle, completely confused as what to do next.  Which means you will leave the warmth of your sleeping bag to rescue the cat (and by extension, Noodle) and pass him off to husband to take back into the house, because everyone and their brother knows that cats have no business camping, front yard or elsewhere.

Just for the record, you won't hear a peep from your cat after this experience.  He now knows you are nuts sleeping out there and thinks you deserve what you get.

6.  Backs will hurt about halfway through the night.  You will actually be crippled by morning.

Yup, that pretty much sums it up.  Camping out front was a blast.  And completely hilarious, once morning brought a bit of perspective.

The cat has started speaking to us again, in case you were wondering.

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Very Best Steak Marinade - Straight From Your Freezer!

Summer is officially here!  Maybe not according to the calendar, but school is out, and in my world that means that summer is here!  Hooray!  Huzzah!  We are doing all manner of happy dances around the N&N household these days.  We love summer around here!

And part of what makes summer so very, very great for me is the idea that we can COOK OUTSIDE!  Which translates to less clean up for me.  (At least, in theory.  Somehow it never seems to work out that way, but I still love grilling over cooking in my kitchen.)

So to help us all on our way to many, many evenings grilling outside, I am here with my very favorite steak marinade recipe!  Yum!

And just like that, here it is:

Start with 1/2 cup Red Wine:

To that, add 1/2 cup Soy Sauce:

Use low sodium if you want.  See if I care.  Also, notice how the soy sauce and red wine look pretty much exactly the same.  They aren't.  No matter how bad we wish they were.

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar:

3 Tablespoons Honey:

2-3 cloves of garlic (when in doubt, add more.  Always more garlic!):

 2 Tablespoons dried minced onion:

1/2 teaspoon Snider's Prime Rib Seasoning:

Don't have Snider's?  Use your favorite rub or meat seasoning mix.  But I'm telling you, this stuff is GOOD!  We use it on everything - steak, chicken, grilled veggies, you name it.  It's that good!  And if you are looking for it, it looks like this:

Mix it all up in a bowl, and dump it, along with your steak, in a ziplock freezer bag.  Maybe start with the steak first, like this:

I use flank steak with this recipe.  And honestly, I would rather not manhandle it into a ziplock, but we have to do what we have to do.

Now take that marinade and dump it in with the steak:

Seriously, try taking a picture while you're doing it.  Not as easy as one might think!

Why a freezer bag?  Because I tend to do 3 or 4 of these at a time and freeze them.  Just triple or quadruple the recipe and go.  Because as far as I'm concerned, the best way to save time in the kitchen is to have something already made!  Then anytime I want to have steak, I just take one out and it defrost it.  While it's defrosting, it's marinading!  By the time you grill it, it's been marinading all day and is AMAZING!

The end result looks something like this:

Which is to say, delicious.  In a raw meat sort of way.

Now you can either chuck that in the freezer for another day, or marinade it for a few hours and grill.  Either way, you won't be sorry.  And for extra goodness, save any leftovers and have them on an arugula salad the next day.  Seriously amazing.

Now get out there and enjoy your summer!  That's what I'm going to do!

Have a favorite marinade recipe?  Let's here it!

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