Can you believe it?! They turned 5 on August 23, 2013. Wow 5 years! 🙂
Can you believe it?! They turned 5 on August 23, 2013. Wow 5 years! 🙂
Can you believe it?! They turned 5 on August 23, 2013. Wow 5 years! 🙂
I’ve been inspired to share how I prepare sweet potatoes by this post here from my friend Evelyn over at “Become a Healthier You”. Check out that post because she gives some of the health benefits of sweet potatoes so I won’t go into it here. But I will mention that sweet potatoes are inexpensive, at least they are in my neck of the woods. So cheap and good for you is a always a winner in my book.
Now I’ve mentioned it before, that I really don’t like to cook. So whatever I cook has gotta be quick and easy with minimal preparation time. But I also like to do it cheap and healthy because I’ll admit, I still indulge in stuff that really is not good for you. So I incorporate the good healthy foods as much as I can and in order for me to do that, it can’t be too much trouble.
So here’s how I prepare my sweet potato treat:
1) Pre-heat your oven.
I bake the sweet potatoes at 400 degrees F, but of course everybody’s oven is different so find which temp works best for you. It probably does not even matter what temp you use. just be aware the lower the temp, the longer it will take them to cook. While you can bake just one sweet potato, I think it’s a waste of energy to do that. Plus I don’t like to have to cook everyday so I do 4 or more at one time.
While your waiting for the oven to heat, wash your sweet potatoes and dry them off.
2) Place them on a cookie sheet, baking pan or whatever shallow pan you have and put ’em in the oven.
3) Bake for approx 45 minutes to 1 hr.
Smaller sweet potatoes will of course cook faster than larger ones. You’ll know they are ready when they are soft. Sometimes, you’ll see the flesh on the outside of the potato. The softer they are the sweeter they’ll be too.
4) Take ’em out of the oven and let them cool down a bit.
See how easy that is?!
Once they are cool enough for you to handle, unless you have asbestos hands :-), peel the potatoes you are going to eat. You’ll find that the skin comes off very easy. That’s another way to tell if you’ve cooked them long enough. As you get more experience preparing sweet potatoes this way, you’ll be able to judge based on their size, how long you’ll need to bake them.
Now some of you may want to stop right there, plop ’em on a plate and start chowing down. But I like mine similar to the traditional sweet potato pie taste so let’s continue.
5) Place the peeled potato in the dish/bowl you are gonna eat out of and add the following ingredients to taste:
Mix it all up with a fork and have at it! Quick, easy, cheap and nutritious…well except for the bake time. Now that’s my kind of dish!
Hope y’all enjoy this and let me know in the comments if you try it.
Hey guys!! I know I’ve been away for a while but I’m back. 🙂
I just wanted to share with you guys something I ran across actually a few months ago. What is that? Grapeseed oil. I found it at my local Wal-Mart grocery store and decided to try it as I remembered reading rave reviews on it for natural hair back when I was a loose natural. Don’t worry as this oil is NOT going to replace my beloved coconut oil. There is another reason I wanted to try it as I’ve been looking for an oil that stays in a liquid state to blend with my herbal coconut oil mix. I figure that would help in keeping it “soft” in the winter. What do I mean by “soft”? Because of the saturated fat in coconut oil, it becomes a solid at temps below 77 degrees F.
Since I’ve started using my coconut oil infused with herbs, you can see what herbs I use here, the herbs seem to help the oil stay soft. I just wanted to see if I could improve on the “soft” with an oil I can find locally and reasonably priced. This mix is the only thing I’m gonna use the grapeseed oil for. And as y’all already know and if you don’t, my hair does not like olive oil. I may be infusing this grapeseed oil with some of or all of the herbs that I use in the coconut oil at a later date but for now, I’ve put some in with my already infused coconut oil.
Well this is an update as I had already started this post shortly after trying this new oil. After several months of using this grapeseed oil mixed in with my herbal coconut oil, I’m not crazy about it. To me, the consistency is a little to close to olive oil for my liking. Basically that means just a little bit too heavy and the smell is almost like olive oil.
It was only $5 for a 24 ounce bottle so that may have something to do with it but again from what I’ve read, grapeseed oil is inexpensive compared to extra virgin olive and coconut oil. That being said, I’m not sure I’ll be trying another brand on my dime. So, I’ll be using the remainder in a mix for skin use only, or and sticking with my herbal coconut oil.
What is your favorite oil for your hair? Vote in the poll and tell me why in the comments.
Hi everyone! I’m back to continue talking about things I have done to save on my heating bill.
4) Turn down the thermostat even further when you are going to be away from home for more than a few hours and at night/day (if you work nights) when you are sleeping.
4) Use comforters and blankets on your bed.
5) Install a programmable thermostat.
Do not believe that mess when the utility company says that it costs more to get the house up to the higher temp that you set when you get home than to leave the thermostat set at 68 degrees or whatever 24/7/365. That is a bunch of BS!
Remember what I said in the previous post, the more you use, the more you pay. Based on that, you should immediately see why they would tell you to leave your furnace set on a constant temperature all the time. Now I’m not saying shut the unit off…do NOT do that. What I am suggesting is to take it down to about 50 degrees, maybe 55-60 degrees if you are in a very cold climate, to insure that your water pipes in the house don’t freeze which will cause them to burst. Then you’ll really have a problem…and a very expensive one at that.
When I committed to doing this in the last 4 years, I saw a difference in my heating bill. Yes, the house will be quite chilly when you get back home, so just keep your coat on if you need to ’til the house starts to warm up,which may take about 30-45 minutes. This is a heck of a lot cheaper than heating an unoccupied house at the same temperature as if you were at home. Now if you just like donating money, do what I’m suggesting here, and when you see the savings, contact me and I’ll give you my PayPal info so you can send the money to me. I can assure you, I’ll put the money to good use. 🙂
The more you use, the more you pay.
The same principle applies to when you are sleeping at the end of your day. That’s why I mentioned using comforters on your bed in addition to blankets. Comforters are pretty much like a sleeping bag, just not closed in. If you’ve ever slept in a sleeping bag outdoors when it’s cool or cold, you’ll be surprised at how warm you are while sleeping. That’s because YOU are the heater inside the bag as a human’s body temperature is around 98.6 degrees.
Yeah, it’s pretty cold when you gotta get up and go to the restroom in the middle of the night, but look at it like this. You won’t completely wake yourself up because you will not be messing around. You’ll want to get back IN that warm bed you just got out of as fast as possible. Once you get used to it, it becomes second nature. And you’ll be glad when you get your bill.
The more you use, the more you are going to pay. Yep, I tend to repeat myself as I don’t want you to forget this. 😉
As far as having to get up to start your day in a cold house, well that’s where a programmable thermostat is very helpful. For the price and the convenience, they are very inexpensive and pretty easy to install yourself. In fact I, (not my husband who was my SO at the time) installed my thermostat 12 almost 13 years ago and it still works great.
You can set the thermostat to have the furnace come on and go off at certain times of the day. The one I have you can program individual settings for all 7 days of the week. Price-wise, it was the mid range at the time but for the amount of money I have saved on my heating bill and when I was using AC, it has paid for itself many, many times over.
Finally, only heat the rooms that you are occupying.
Now how in the world do you do that you ask?
Well stay tuned as I’ll cover that in the next post.
Hey everyone! As we are in the winter season, I wanted to share some things that I have been doing for many years to save on my heating bill during the winter months. As I mentioned in an earlier post about air conditioning, I refuse to give the utility companies any more than necessary.
Here we go:
1) Weather strip around doors, windows etc. Place heavy curtains and/or layers of curtains on windows.
We want to keep all that heat you are paying for inside the house and you’ll want to do this to your interior doors as well. In another post I’ll talk a bit about what I’ve done to the bottom of my interior doors.
2) Start training your body by setting the thermostat a few degrees lower than you’ve been accustomed to, going even lower on days when there is a warm spell.
3) Dress in winter clothing ie sweaters, long johns, etc and in layers.
That should be common sense right? However, I hear folks complain about how high their heating bills are, saying that the gas/electric company will charge you whatever they want to charge you. Yet when observing them at home, they are walking around in short sleeves, tank tops, shorts with the thermostat set on 80-85 degrees or higher. Really?!!
Yeah it sounds like I’m criticizing but it makes no cents (pun intended) to have the house like it’s summer in the winter and winter in the summer. Of course it’s your choice, but don’t complain about it when the bill comes each month.
Now I grew up in a cold area of the country. The first place was old apartment building that was probably built around the 1920’s or 1930’s with those cast iron radiators
and before each individual apartment had thermostats. You knew when it was 10:00 pm without looking at a clock, because you would hear a hissing sound indicating that the heat was being turned waayy down. Take a bath at 11:00 pm or after if you want to…I guarantee it would be a fast one and the last one be as you’ll be freezing your behind off. I can also guarantee you that the temperature was set not high enough for you to be able to walk around in short sleeves or just one layer of clothing during the day/evening either.
A few years later my folks bought a two flat apartment building. We lived in one apartment and rented out the other one. It was a bit newer than the apartment where I spent my 0-12 years of age I think, but still old because there was only one boiler/furnace to heat both apartments and of course the thermostat was in our place. I almost forgot, it had radiators too. The furnace was a huge oil unit located in the basement and looked like something that would reach out and grab you if you got too close. You could look through the window on the front and see the flames/oil burning. Honestly, it was scary! lol
Anywhoo…my father would have the heating oil company come out and fill the two large tanks in July or August as it was cheaper to purchase in the summer months. I mentioned before, I grew up in a cold part of the country which means the winters are long. Much longer and colder than where I currently live. That oil had to last us and our tenant ALL winter. If the oil company had to come out during the winter, you’d pay double or more for each gallon of oil. If you read one of my How I Got Outta Debt posts, you’ll remember that money was tight…very tight. My father had a major heart attack just 2 months after he bought the place. So there was no dressing like it was summer time in the house in the winter…unless you wanted to shake what ya momma gave you. I’m not talking about dancing either, though that is a great way to get warm.
I told those stories because I’m not telling you to do something that I have not done or experienced myself. I still dress in layers including wearing more than one pair of socks on my feet while inside my home in the winter and I’ve been out of my parents house, living on my own for almost 30 years. I even wear something on my head most days. Now that my locs are long enough to be on my back, I feel warmer than I did in the early days of my locs so now I’ve got that added warmth. Back then, I had something on my head everyday during the winter/early spring months.
The less clothes you have on your body, the colder you are going to feel. The colder you feel, the more apt you are to crank up the thermostat. It’s much, much cheaper to put more clothing on.
Which brings me to the statement that I hear a lot… “They are gonna charge you what they want to”. This is true but only part of the statement is true. Yes, while they do have control of the rate of each kilowatt, cubic foot, gallon whatever you are being charged, YOU have control of how much you use/waste. The more you use, the more you’re going to pay.
4) If you are just watching TV, reading, on the computer, etc use a blanket, throw or something over your legs. Snuggies are really nice for this. And, yes this is addition to the layers that you are wearing.
Again, much cheaper to do things like this to make you feel warm. If you feel warm, you are less likely to want to crank up the thermostat. The lower the thermostat setting, the less money you will be charged and therefore have to pay. Yeah ,I know I said that already but we learn by repetition right?!
I’ll cover more in the next post.
Hey y’all! I hope that everyone is doing well.
I thought I’d share a tea that I’ve been drinking since the summer of 2011. What 2011?!! This is 2013! I was reminded by a post from a wonderful friend of mine and health blogger Evelyn Parham last year I believe. Yeah, I’ve been holding out on y’all. Charge it to my head and not my heart as I really did forget to post about it.
So what’s in this tea? Here’s the rundown:
All are dried herbs except for the Lemon Balm which I have growing in a pot on my deck. If you’ve read some of my posts, you’ll notice that some of the herbs listed are herbs I use in my herbal hair concoctions. Yes, the very same herbs.
I put the herbs and water in a pot on low heat for min 30 min, sometimes longer. Now y’all know I’m not a stickler on measurements but I use the same spoon which is a little bigger than a teaspoon. I put in 4 parts (my teaspoon) of hibiscus, elderberries, and nettle, 3 parts of everything else and a few leaves of Lemon Balm. I let the pot cool down and place it in the fridge, straining the plant material out in the next day or two. The boiler that I use yields about 40 ounces of tea.
The elderberries have some sweetness to them so the tea is sweet enough for me therefore I don’t add anything like honey, agave etc. And of course I drink this as my cold beverage.
What herbal teas are you guys drinking?
Hey everyone! I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season and are coming into the new year well.
Wow, it’s already 2013! I don’t know ’bout y’all but 2012 went outta here with a quickness.
Y’all in 2013 we are still dealing with the thought that black women cannot grow long hair. Now I don’t consider my hair/lil dreads as long and yes it’s longer than it’s ever been. Sadly, this backwards attitude is coming from the older generation.
I attended an annual family gathering and this one person has seen me every year since I started my braidlocks almost 4 1/2 years ago. Last year, this same person asked me if this was all my hair. And this year as soon as she saw me she said, “I can’t believe that your hair is that long”.
Huh…this is 2013 right?! ***shaking my head*** And to myself I’m saying, “Wait til you see me next year”.
There is another thing that I’ve heard that bugs me to no end. It’s the notion that older women or women 40 years and older, should cut their hair short. Really?! What’s the reasoning behind that?
Are any of you still experiencing backwards attitudes towards your hair?
In my last post I said I was going to talk about the reasons why I chose the method that I used to make an herbal coconut oil. So here I am, the one that you love. 🙂 Sorry but that 80’s song popped in my head as I wrote that. lol
Anywho…I was on Annie’s Remedies and stumbled across this page that talks about the different methods for making an oil infusion. “Great”, I said to myself! After reading the entire page, I decided on the solar crock pot method. Wait a minute! That was not listed on the site so what in the heck are you talking about ?!! I know that’s what you are saying. Let me explain. What I mean by that is I use the solar infusion method where you are putting the herbs and oils into your jar but instead of the Sun, a crock pot will be the heat source.
Why do it that way? I’ll tell ya. I liked the sound of the crock pot method but I did not want the hassle of having to transfer the heated oil and plant material from the crock pot into the jars. Ditto for the double boiler method. Plus, the lady who gave me the inspiration to infuse my own oil burned herself. She was using the double boiler method. I don’t remember the exact details but the jar shattered after putting the hot oil into the jar. Needless to say I was not to keen on trying it myself.
Sooo, I thought about the solar infusion method. I liked the sound of the solar method but the only place where I get 6 or more hours of Sun is along my driveway which is in the front yard of my house. That means I’d have to put the jars out there everyday and remember to bring them in at night or the threat of rain etc. Not such a good idea and gives me more to do when I have to leave the house. Also the neighborhood cat
who’s a sweetie by the way, would probably think that the jars are toys so there’s no telling what would happen to them. However, I liked the idea that once I got the herbs and oil in the jar that was it until I was ready to strain the material out for use. And I only have to handle hot oil one time.
So I though hmmm, maybe I can combine the two. I know that on low heat, my crock pot heats slowly and I did not have to worry the oil burning, the water going too fast and all that other jazz one must be concerned with in dealing with oil and a stove. And since I to do my infusions in the winter, it doubles as a humidifier. Now that’s true multi-tasking. Love that!
OK, sounds great right but why does it take so long you ask? I think it’s because of the low heat being used and the use of dried herbs.
Can you speed up the process by using high heat? Maybe, if you are using oils that can tolerate high heat such as coconut oil. But from my research on infusing oils and from talking to a herbalist, high heat destroys the herb. Of course I did not want to destroy the herbs otherwise what’s the point of doing herbal infusions, right? I had previously done an herbal infusion by heating the herbs and oil for several hours but I was not impressed with the resulting oil. The second time, I left the herbs in for 8 weeks and 3 months. Again there did not seem to be any difference in the infused oil vs plain coconut oil. Maybe the infusion would turn out different if I had used fresh herbs.
Again why so long and why not use fresh herbs? I wanted a product that did not have any water content. When a product has water in it you have to contend with spoilage and I did not have nor want to have to deal with chemical preservatives. As I mentioned in the video, plants have a high water content when they are fresh. Using dried herbs lets me get around that to a degree because the water has been, of course dried out. I’m not a herbalist but my theory is because of the lack of water present, it takes awhile longer to get the herbs to release the good stuff. Remember the old school wine commercial quote ” A fine wine takes time”? I bet the same thing applies with herbal oil infusions…at least for me. The proof is in the pudding as I am continually amazed at how my locs feel and look after using my herbal oil infusion as opposed to when I was using virgin coconut oil straight. So this stuff is spiked, kicked up a notch… BAM. 🙂
In the last post, I forgot to include pics of what the oil looks like after the infusion process and 6 months or more of “simmering”. lol
This jar was done February 2012. Because I don’t need to use much on my hair and I did about 3 jars in 2010, I have not cracked this one open yet.
This is the oil after the plant material has been strained out. Like the pic above the oil is somewhat solid because coconut oil goes from liquid to solid at temperatures below 77 degrees. The aloe powder settles to the bottom of the jar.
Here is the oil when it’s above 77 degrees and the aloe powder mixed. As you can see it’s the very dark green/brown that I mentioned in the last post. That’s probably due to the aloe powder, nettle, hibiscus and sage. I have another herbal infusion that I’ve done that does not have those herbs but some of the others I mentioned and it’s a tan color.
In another post I’ll go into the why’s of each ingredient I decided to use as I did not do that in the videos I posted on here and on my YouTube channel.
Hey y’all I promised in my post here that I would share my herbal coconut oil concoction. I did videos on my YouTube channel earlier last year but forgot to blog about it here.
The inspiration to make my own herbal oil came from hearing about Vatika Coconut Oil, Nyle Herbal Hair Oil and the Profectiv Hair Strengthener. The Profectiv was given as a present to all the ladies at my husband’s family reunion in 2009. I was already using Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil so I thought what if I could make my own Vatika, Nyle/Profectiv type oil using coconut oil.
The inspiration for the choice of herbs I used are from some of the ingredients listed on the jar of Profectiv Daily Anti -Breakage Hair Strengthner I had and the Nyle Herbal Hair Oil I had researched after hearing about it on YouTube. Back then the Profectiv was not an oil but a…well, I really don’t know how to describe it. It was a milky color with a slight pink tint and had a loose gel like texture. They were listed as extracts however I was impressed by the number of natural things in it like horsetail and sage . Glycerin was and still is in the product… but pretty high on the list back then. Nice for attracting moisture but I really dislike the sticky feeling it leaves on my hair. For me, it also attracts dirt, something I definitely did not want to do for my locs. And you were supposed to be using this stuff daily. I never bought the Nyle Herbal Hair Oil but it’s ingredient list showed it had hibiscus and fenugreek extracts along with coconut oil.
This was three years ago as I see now at the time of this post, the list of ingredients for the Profectiv has changed quite a bit. Currently, Propylene Glycol is quite high on the list of ingredients with silicones following close behind. I’m not sure but I don’t think it was like that back then and if it was on the list it was close to the bottom. Otherwise I would have never used the product. It also has Lanolin, Olive oil and silicones that I don’t remember being in the product either. I think I’ve mentioned before that my hair does not like Olive Oil nor silicone.
That’s another reason why I wanted to make my own product because I know how companies for various reasons, will change the formulation of a product by adding cheaper chemicals. I wish that I would have kept the label on the jar of Profectiv so that I could see changes at the time of this post vs when I first did my concoction oil. I also think Nyle Herbal Hair Oil has changed their formulation as well because I don’t remember seeing mineral oil listed as an ingredient. No surprise really but…Wow!
The other inspiration was from research done on Anita Grant’s old website and other websites for information on herbs for dry hair.
Now, the trouble was I had no idea how to get the herbs into the oil. Thanks to a YouTube friend and subscriber and also Annie’s Remedies, I learned how to do herbal oil infusions. I would give y’all the link to her channel but I recently discovered she’s no longer on YouTube. 😦
OK, here’s what I came up with.
Virgin Coconut Oil – of course right?! However use whatever oil you like.
And the following dried herbs:
Benzoin Gum Powder
Fenugreek Seed Powder
Calendula (Marigold) Flower
Rose Buds and Petals
Slippery Elm Bark
Citric Acid for preserving and
Glass jars w/lids (recycled ones are awesome) to hold all of the goodies.
Keep in mind if you want to follow the actual Vatika Oil or the Nyle oil ingredients, by all means do so. I wanted to use herbs that were readily available to me at my local health food store.
For those of you that have been with me for a while already know the answer to the question “How much of each do you use?” 🙂 For those of you who don’t, the answer is… I don’t have a set measurement amount. Heck, I hardly ever measure anything. lol However I will use the same spoon or whatever device I’m using and add more of some herbs like sage, rosebuds and nettle. I add according to what I feel like my hair needs. It’s also dependant on the size of the glass jar you choose. Ok here are the intricate instructions: 😉
See… It’s pretty easy but a little bit time-consuming. If you’ve already scrolled down and watched the video you might have noticed that I’ve changed the instructions a bit. I remembered from the last batch I did ( the video is the filming of it) that it’s a little difficult to mix the oil and herbs when the jar is full of herbs. I’m thinking doing it in the way I have listed above should be easier.
Also it should help in making sure that you have the most amount of oil you can get in to be infused with the good stuff from the plant material. I guess because you are dealing with oil and not water it takes a bit longer for the oil to penetrate the plant material and absorb the oil. Heating the oil helps with this and so does the mixing.
***Note: be careful when mixing with a metal utensil as constant tapping on the bottom of the jar can cause it to crack!***
You’ll want to make sure that the finished jar has oil covering the herbs as this helps to keep the herbs from going rancid (spoiling).
To heat the mixture in the jars, I use an old crock pot, the kind with the ceramic insert. I put the jars in and fill it with water then turn it on the lowest setting of heat. I do this for 8 or more hours per day for 2 weeks. Then I label the jars with the date and put them aside to set for at least 6 months.
When that time has passed, strain out the plant material using a strainer to get the big stuff out. Re-strain using a knee-high stocking to get the smaller particles into your storage jar. You can add essential oils like lavender for further preserving and others for additional benefits for your hair or fragrance.
The resulting oil will be dark green almost brown in color. This will vary of course depending on the combination of herbs used to infuse into the oil.
In the next post I’ll cover why I chose to use this method. If you want to see how I do the infusion check out the videos below.
Hey! I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving if you celebrate it and if you braved the Black Friday crowds that you did not spend too much money.
I forgot to mention in my 4 year update that I’ve noticed that my hair was shedding. I remembered back in the day when I had a Jheri curl that my hair shedding had been reduced tremendously. Probably because of the activator and moisturizer that you had to put on it. Otherwise your hair would break off from being dry.
Now I’m not trying in any way to revive those days but what I have been doing the past couple of weeks is to use a tiny amount of my herbal coconut oil (I’ll do post on this soon) to seal the moisture in after my daily spritzing with water. I decided to do this because I don’t use conditioner on my locs and I my oil has conditioning herbs in it. And it’ll be a pre treatment prior to my weekly washing. So yeah, I’m multi-tasking on my hair. Love that!! lol
I’m really liking the way that my locs are looking and feeling. I even got a complement on my hair from a much older family member yesterday who does not like dreadlocks. Y’all know how the older generation can be about natural hair, not to mention dreadlocks. But I’ll tell ya, you could have knocked me over with a feather as I was shocked!
You might not want to try this if your locs are still new. At least not daily as it could interfere with the locking process. But adding moisture, oh yeah!