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Natural Homemade Deodorant: It really works

May 21, 2013 • Paige

There are a lot of reasons to stop using commercial deodorant and antiperspirant.  Here is a place to start reading, if this is the first you’ve heard:

Let’s face it: Everybody sweats and there is nothing that any of us can do to stop it, but we CAN easily control body odor with natural homemade remedies.  Body odor is caused by bacteria, not by sweat, so the key is to use an antibacterial deodorant that doesn’t irritate your skin.  I’ve tried several natural commercial products, and none of them worked for me, so now I make my own.  I’ve been making moisturizer from coconut oil for a long time, so why not?

Making your own natural deodorant is incredibly easy, but it may take a little trial-and-error to find what works best with your body.  Write down what you put into your deodorant so that you can make it again without having to guess.  The first time you try this, make a small amount so it is easier to adjust it.

There is no “the best recipe”.  Most are based on baking soda with arrowroot powder, corn starch, or salt and a little essential oil in a base of virgin coconut oil.

natural deodorant

A note about the ingredients:  Use the good stuff whenever you can because it makes a world of difference.

Virgin coconut oil is naturally antibacterial, so it makes a great base.  Some people just use straight coconut oil and stop there, but I live in Louisiana so I need something more powerful.

Tea Tree oil is my preferred essential oil due to its antibacterial properties, but you can use whatever you like.  Sweet orange and lavender essential oils are also popular.  Word to the wise: Don’t use peppermint oil.

Get Started:

Choose your ingredients, and mix them in equal parts:

Baking soda +  corn starch


Baking soda  + arrowroot powder


Baking soda  +  salt*
(Salt was awful for me, but others swear by it)

Add just enough coconut oil to form a thick paste, about the consistency of commercial deodorant.  Add a few drops of essential oil and thoroughly mix everything together.   Be careful not to add too much essential oil, as some of them can burn the skin.

For every 1 cup of natural deodorant, I can only add about 3 drops of essential oil or my skin will develop a hot red rash that is not fun.  I’ve seen a lot of recipes contain 10 drops of this, 15 drops of that, so it’s possible that I’m more sensitive than the average person.  Better safe than sorry!  You can always add more later.

Store your deodorant in a wide-mouth container that you can easily get your fingers into, and keep it in a cool place.  Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees, so consider keeping it in the refrigerator in the summer time.

To apply, rub a little bit of deodorant onto your fingers and spread it under your arms – pretty simple.

This stuff really works.  If you’re nervous, try it on a weekend.  That’s best if you don’t know what is going to work for you anyway.  I was very nervous at the idea of ditching my Ultra Maximum Strength antiperspirant for an entire work day, but it has been 85 degrees in Shreveport, Louisiana for the last week and I’ve been doing just fine the whole time!   I’m sure I’ll use the commercial stuff from time to time but I’m not soaking myself in aluminum every day any more.

Troubleshooting help:

If your arm pits develop a red rash, or start burning, you likely have too much baking soda or too much essential oil.    Dilute it with some more coconut oil, and/or more arrowroot or cornstarch, and adjust until you’re comfortable.   This is why you start with a small batch.  You also might get irritated skin if you apply deodorant too soon after shaving, but that happens with commercial brands, too.

At the end of all this…  If you still feel like you need the commercial products, don’t sweat it. (har har)  There are so many other ways to simplify and make healthier choices.  The sky is the limit!

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Simple Skillet Granola

January 6, 2013 • Paige

Happy New Year!

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?  The number one New Year’s Resolution is eating healthier. The most important thing is to get started – but where do you start?  Breakfast is very important, so begin each day with some clean, healthy food.

Granola is incredibly easy to make and if you vary the ingredients, you’ll never get tired of it.  Once you try home made granola – you may never buy boxed cereal again.

Skillet Granola – simple version

2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons real butter
1 cup of old fashioned oats  (NOT quick cooking!)

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
Slowly stir in honey until combined.
Add the oats and cook about 4 minutes, continuing to stir.
Granola is done when the oats are a golden brown.

Spread granola on a sheet  of  foil to cool.  It will crisp up as it cools.


Or if you want something more complex:

Skillet Granola – ‘to die for’ version

2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons real butter
1 cup of old fashioned oats  (NOT quick cooking!)
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds, added just before the oats.
1/2 cup dried fruit added just as the granola begins turning golden brown.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
Slowly stir in honey until combined.
Add sesame/sunflower seeds and cook for about two minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the oats and cook about 4 minutes, continuing to stir.
Add dried fruit just as the oats start to brown.
Granola is done when the oats are a golden brown.

Spread granola on a sheet  of  foil to cool.  It will crisp up as it cools.

How to Cook Brown Rice by Moxie Gusto

May 28, 2012 • Paige

The myth that eating healthy is expensive – is false!

Simple, nutritious and low-fat food is actually some of the cheapest food out there. Brown Rice and dry beans are about $1.50 per pound.  A pound of dry beans cooks up about six cups of beans, equal to five cans.

Brown rice is packed with nutrition, and cheap. It goes well with practically anything and I think brown rice tastes a lot better than white rice.  I make big batches and keep it in the fridge for quick meals.

Learning to cook brown rice is easy.  You just need the patience to leave it alone and resist temptation to lift the lid and stir it.  For me, this was not easy!

Cooking Brown Rice

Brown Rice Method one:

  • Pour 2 cups of water in a medium sauce pan, heat to boiling.
  • Measure and rinse 1 cup of uncooked brown rice, add it to the water.
  • Stir and cover with a lid.
  • Turn heat down to low, and set a timer for 45 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, uncover.
  • Drain off any excess liquid and fluff with a fork.

Do not lift the lid, not even once until 45 Minutes are up!

Brown Rice Method two:

Pre-soaking brown rice cuts the cooking time in half!

  • Measure and thoroughly rinse 1 cup of uncooked brown rice.
  • Soak the rice in a bowl of cool water for two hours, then drain.
  • Pour 2 cups of water in a medium sauce pan and heat to boiling
  • Drain the soaked rice and add it to the boiling water.
  • Stir and cover with a lid.
  • Turn the heat down to low, set a timer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, uncover.
  • Drain any excess liquid and fluff with a fork.

Do not lift the lid, not even once until 20 minutes are up!

If you’re not sure how to use brown rice, here are some recipes to get you started:

Southern Brown Rice Recipes @

Recipe: Lentils, Brown Rice, and Carmelized Onions

Here is an explanation of some of the benefits of  brown rice.

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Blissfully Simple Laundry. Yes…. Laundry. by Moxie Gusto

May 14, 2012 • Paige

The next time you do laundry, don’t use any detergent.  When the washer agitates, you will see suds.  Wash without detergent again, and you will still see suds. Your clothes are full of detergent, and every interior surface of your washing machine is coated with detergent, too.

I haven’t used any detergent in about a year and I’m never going back.  The benefits are pretty amazing.

If you’re not up for going detergent-free, try cutting the amount of product you use in half. I promise: you’re not going to notice a difference except that you buy a lot less detergent.

You don’t need fabric softener, either.  Add a quarter cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle instead of softener. Vinegar aids in rinsing out the detergent and reduces static quite a lot.  It kills odors really well.  I used a ‘Downy ball’ for the vinegar so I wouldn’t have to catch the rinse cycle. Easy and efficient!

Now, all I use in my laundry is white vinegar.  I add ½ to 1 full cup of white vinegar at the beginning in place of detergent.   My clothes are clean and soft, and smell like clean clothes.  Vinegar even does the job on my athlete teenager’s sports uniform.  I was really skeptical there, but I swear by “just vinegar” now.

After ditching laundry products and other perfumed products,  I discovered an unexpected benefit:

Now, when I go out in public I can smell everything.  The perfumes and chemicals in detergents and other products hang around a person like a cloud of fumes. I didn’t realize I had such dulled senses until I quit all that stuff!   As far as I’m concerned, white vinegar is the holy grail of household chores.

Honey, You’re Beautiful by Moxie Gusto

January 30, 2012 • Paige

In addition to being useful as medicine, honey is also a wonderful natural moisturizer for your skin. It is a humectant, which means it attracts and holds moisture. Honey is a common ingredient in cosmetics and beauty products for this, and many other reasons.

I make my own all-purpose moisturizer from coconut oil and honey. I use plain, refined coconut oil from the baking aisle of the grocery store (LouAnn brand), but you could spend more on unrefined, virgin, and organic varieties in the health food stores. I am happy with the cheaper stuff that I can also use to make really good popcorn and baked goods.

My moisturizer is about 90% coconut oil, 10% honey, and sometimes a few drops of olive oil.  You’ll have to experiment to find what you like.  It’s great on your face and hands, and even softens elbows and feet. Since it’s entirely edible, it’s also really good on dry, cracked lips.  I love it because it’s  simple, earthy, inexpensive, and my bathroom is not cluttered with bottle after bottle of ‘product’ – just one little jar!

Honey never spoils, and coconut oil is slow to oxidize, which makes it resistant to rancidity.  No more throwing away expensive products that have gone rancid!  Note: if your beauty products smell like old crayons, they are rancid and you need to toss them out.  Coconut oil has a melting point of 76F, so it will be solid in the winter and liquid in the summer. Just be aware of that so you don’t slosh it everywhere when you open the container in warm months. I know this and still make a mess every now and then.

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Honey: A Simple Home Remedy

January 16, 2012 • Paige

Honey is an excellent home-remedy and has been used for thousands of years to treat open wounds, burns, ulcers, sore throats, and dry skin. There is evidence that honey was used medicinally by ancient Egyptians and Greeks, Native Americans, and many other people all over the world. Aristotle spoke of honey as a salve for wounds.  Midwives have long used honey to aid in the healing of tears after childbirth.

Honey is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and a natural antiseptic. It contains an enzyme called glucose oxidase which produces hydrogen peroxide, when combined with water or body fluids. Honey helps keep the skin moist, encouraging the growth if new tissues and may reduce scarring. Honey dressings are easy to remove and don’t stick to the skin.

Honey soothes a sore throat.  Taking a spoonful of honey can help suppress a cough, soothe a sore throat, and help fight infection. Not only is honey antibacterial, it has anti-inflammatory properties as well.   Children can tolerate honey and you will likely have an easier time administering a spoonful of honey than spoonful of over the counter cough syrup.  Note: NEVER give honey to infants, as there is a high risk of botulism.

Honey has been said to induce sleep, and it -really- works for me, so that’s another reason to try administering a spoonful of honey to a sick child at bedtime.  It will soothe their throat, relieve coughs and help them sleep.

Raw honey is best, because it hasn’t been heated and filtered like the commercial honey you find in the grocery store.  Heating honey destroys the enzymes and lessens the medicinal properties.  However, the honey I buy is produced in my area, and is heated but not high enough to be pasteurized. I know I’m losing some of the beneficial properties this way but I’m supporting a local business and I’m happy with the results of this lower priced option.  I’ve read that regularly taking local honey over a long period of time helps build up a resistance to local pollens and reduces seasonal allergies.  I’ll be sure to report on that once I’ve been at it long enough.

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Cleaning Products Made Simple by Moxie Gusto

October 19, 2011 • Paige

Is the area under your kitchen sink cluttered with ten different kinds of cleaning products?  You really don’t need them. Besides, they cost too much and they’re almost all toxic.  Having a “non-toxic” house (or close to it) is pretty easy. Just stop using commercial cleaners.  You already have simple stuff that works just as well.

All you need is hot water, white vinegar, and baking soda or salt. I clean my stove with plain hot water, which takes less effort than it used to with harsh commercial products.  Commercial cleaners irritate my skin and they have a nasty chemical “stink” to them.  Even when I’ve been lazy and there is stuck-on food from last weekend’s cook-a-thon, it all comes off with hot water.  Sometimes I might scour with a little table salt or baking soda, too. The same thing works to clean floors, counters, walls, etc.  Put a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and you have a natural germ killer and deodorizer spray.  There won’t be a vinegar smell when it dries.

  • Glass cleaner: Water and a clean, dry cloth.
    If you’re really old school, water and newspaper.
  • Floors:  A gallon of hot water with a cup of white vinegar.
  • Kitchen & bathroom: baking soda for scouring, vinegar & water spray, plain hot water
  • Toilet: straight white vinegar and a scrub brush
  • Soap residue and water spots: straight white vinegar

Sponges and scrub pads tend to get germy and stinky after a while, so I don’t buy them. I just cut up discarded t-shirts. I have all the cleaning rags I’ll ever need without spending a dime. The best part is that I can toss them in with the laundry.

Stay tuned… Next, I’ll share my super simple laundry secret.

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Laundry Update: No detergent at all!!

September 9, 2011 • Paige

A few years back, I began reducing the amount of laundry soap I use by half, then by half again.  After that, I started making my own, but these days I almost never use any kind of soap or detergent in my laundry.  (WHAT??) 

Yes – I said I don’t use soap or detergent in my laundry.  It sounds crazy but it’s not necessary.  These days, I add a half cup, or sometimes a full cup of white vinegar to the wash load, and that’s it!!

I still can’t conquer static completely, so I use half of a perfume and dye-free dryer sheet if the humidity is low enough for static to be a problem. In Louisiana, most of the time the humidity is high enough that I don’t need even a half a dryer sheet.

Using white vinegar instead of detergent or soap has actually made our clothes very soft.  Our towels are more absorbent than ever.

Doing my laundry this way has had an interesting effect:  I can’t stand the feel of clothes washed with detergent and softeners!  I can feel wax on my fingers after touching clothes washed in commercial products.  The perfumes added to detergents and fabric softeners are over-powering and I much prefer unscented, unwaxed clothes now.

Breakfast "Cake"

April 15, 2011 • Paige

We’re in super-frugal mode for a few months while we pay off my dental work, so I’ve been baking a breakfast cake twice a week.  This recipe is where I started:  – the only difference was that I used raisins instead of cranberries.

I ran out of half of those ingredients, so I created this recipe using only what is on hand and buying as little as possible.

“Breakfast Cake”.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup steens or molasses
1/3 cup oil
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup raisins
extra water
sometimes I remember to throw in some sesame seeds

Bake in a greased 9 x 13 pan for about 30 minutes.  Cool, Eat.

Last night we were out of a whole lot more stuff, so I made it like this:

measurements approximate – I didn’t measure anything.

almost 3 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup peanut butter
pretty big handfull of sharp cheddar cheese
some steens (I didn’t quite have 1/3 cup)
1 cup flaked coconut
water with some blendered brown rice (ie: “milk”)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup raisins

I think that’s it….. I totally forgot the salt.
ah well, it’s really good!

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Buying the freshest bread

December 18, 2010 • Paige

Some bread packaging has a “best by” date stamped on them, but for all those that don’t – how do you tell how old they are?  The twist-ties are color coded to tell you what day the bread was delivered.
Monday – Blue
Tuesday – Green
Thursday – Red
Friday – White
Saturday – Yellow

If you are shopping on a Thursday, don’t get bread with White or Yellow ties!

Categories: Being Frugal
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