“Oil thank you in the morning,” she said to the plant…

Preferring a simple life, I like to use things in my life that are functional and versatile. Thankfully, nature has provided us with many gifts that can benefit our health and life while preserving our natural environment. Keeping it simple, we’re going to talk my favorite oil and summertime blooms that embody duality and adaptability.

I love grapeseed oil.

It is mostly tasteless, so mixing it with mustard, lemon juice, a dash of balsamic vinegar, fresh minced garlic and a dash of pepper makes a nice dressing for a salad. Want a little more kick?  Add some cayenne.  Grapeseed oil is also great for stir frying and sautéing as it has a high smoke point, but I still recommend cooking on low to medium heat.  It is flavorless, releasing the best essence of the foods you cook.   Grapeseed oil is high in polyunsaturated fats and Vitamin E. A list of additional benefits can be found here:

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000747.htm

I also love grapeseed oil as a skin moisturizer. I put some in a spray bottle (I have even used a mason jar, then just dipped my fingertips in to add it to my skin), and add a few drops of lavender and frankincense. You can get personal here and add your favorite essential oils. Grapeseed oil is light, not greasy, and leaves your skin feeling and looking great!  My skin has been sensitive in the past to certain lotions and skin moisturizers and sometimes they just feel too greasy or thick/heavy on my skin. I strongly advise you to research the ingredients of your own moisturizer if you experience any sensitivities. Grapeseed oil is not prone to causing any allergic reactions and will not clog pores. Here are some other benefits:

http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-grape-seed-oil-for-skin-hair-health/#gref

Now, let’s move outside and discuss plants.  That Backyard BBQ and an outdoor game of cornhole can be made less fun with unwanted insects out and about.

“It is summer and this is part of the package deal”, said the insect (oddly enough, a MOSQUITO).

Well, I see things a little differently.  There is enough space out there for us all to get along.  Here is a list of plants that I have in my yard, then following, a list of additional plants to benefit you and keep some of those pests at a distance:

If your yard is in need of natural insect removers/reducers, read on:

  • Basil. Basil not only tastes good, it repels mosquitos! Who’d have thought?  I love multi-purpose plants that benefit my taste buds as well as my skin!
  • Lavender. It repels fleas, flies and mosquitos!  Bonus!  It is also a great add for a summer time favorite: lavender lemonade.  I have also used it in a homemade sachet made out of cheesecloth to assist with a restful sleep.  Just place under your pillow.  Mainly, just rubbing your hand along this beautiful plant and smelling the wonderful scent is healing in itself.  Of course, if you know me, it goes in tea, as well…
  • Lemon Thyme. This plant is SUPER hardy.  I swear, it grew right through winter! While it repels mosquitos, it is also another herb I love in my tea.  You can also add the fresh leaves to water to hydrate throughout the day, giving it that lemony flavor.  Dried, it goes well sprinkled on fish with parmesan.
  • Mint. Again, mosquitos are kept at bay. Mint is yet another multi-purpose plant, as it tastes great in tea and salads, as well as adds a fresh, delightful taste to water you drink throughout the day!  Mind you, I do have the Mojito and chocolate mint versions in my garden…use your own imagination there for more uses…
  • Chives. While they can get invasive, you can keep them in control by pulling them.  These repel Japanese beetles and aphids.  Perfect, right?  I use the buds and add them to olive oil in a mason jar to flavor the oil, and then use it as a dressing for salads, or to cook/baste with.  The chives I use for salads and other recipes, and you can even use the blossoms!  Sprinkle them on your salad; add them to your eggs, to whatever you would like to add a tasty onion flavor to.
  • Petunias. Petunias are Nature’s pesticide. They are easy to grow, and keep aphids and other pesky insects away.  And, we all know the bonus here; they are great for that pop of color in your yard, on your deck or in a container as a welcoming entrance to your abode.  Petunias are a member of the nightshade family, so no eating this beautiful plant!

https://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/12-plants-that-repel-unwanted-insects

I strongly encourage you to experiment with oils and plants for your own specific needs and outdoor areas.  It is a great way to learn more about what works best for you and is an educational experience that is fun!

“Every adventure starts with a first step” ~ Cheshire Cat, Alice In Wonderland

Happy oil and plant adventuring!

Barbara A. Luepke