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Ah, the joys of cooking.  There’s just something about the food we make ourselves…it simply tastes better.

In this blog, we’re focusing on one ingredient, in particular: lemon extract, and how it can be added to your baking routine this year. As they say, when life gives you lemons, Make Life Better with homemade lemon extract!

Lemon extract can be used in recipes that need that lemon-infused flavor. Bundt cakes, cookies, muffins, and various other loaves of bread are some of the more common recipes that would require lemon extract.

We want to give you a brief rundown on this zesty ingredient. Lemon extract is a concentrated form of oil that’s derived from lemon peels and alcohol. Given the fact that oils often contain active ingredients from herbs and plants, there are health benefits that are associated with this ingredient:

  1. Stress reduction – Lemon extract is full of essential oil compounds that could help reduce both psychological and physical stress.
  2. Immune system booster – Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, which can help strengthen the immune system and prevent various respiratory system infections.
  3. Detoxification – Lemon extract has many diuretic properties that make this oil a viable solution for detoxing. Furthermore, the detoxification properties of lemon extract can help prevent urinary system infections.

Keep Moving Mama is a blog, whose author, Wendy, writes to help reach moms with her message that focuses on food, fitness and the confidence to find balance in both.

This influential blogger wrote a blog that was dedicated to making a homemade lemon extract, and she just happens to use our Citrus Pro 4-in-1 multi-tool in the process! Here’s her recipe:

Homemade Lemon Extract

  • Lemon peels from 3 lemons
  • 6 oz. Vodka
  1. Peel zest from clean lemons. (Just the yellow peel, not the pithy white.)
  2. Add lemon peels to a jar.
  3. Fill the jar with vodka and seal.
  4. Store in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks. Shake about once per week.
  5. Strain peels and store in a jar. Use in your favorite recipes.

Rather than choosing the store-bought variety, which can cost you more money than you’d probably like to spend, consider taking the time to make your own lemon extract.

‘Tis the season to be merry! While “being merry” for some may involve the enjoyment of festive adult beverages, or perhaps cozying up to someone with a warm mug of tea,  it’s also important to remember to keep properly hydrated at holiday time. In efforts to keep hydrated and also provide more drink options for your guests and their kids, why not give holiday infused water a try?

There are many varieties of flavored water on the market, but sometimes they get their natural flavor in not-so-natural ways. But it doesn’t have to be that way. All you need is a simple flavor infuser, water and a few fresh ingredients of your choice to make a delicious holiday drink that’s as crisp and refreshing as a new layer of snow on Christmas morning.

Check out these tried and true holiday-infused water recipes or get creative with festive flavor combinations of your own.

Apple Cinnamon Ginger Water

Nancy Creative was inspired to create infused water that’s as fitting for fall as it is winter. Fresh sliced apples are delicious, especially when combined with cinnamon sticks as the perfect combination. Looking to spice it up ever so slightly? Adding fresh ginger root will do the trick. Combine all ingredients into an infuser ball, refrigerate overnight and enjoy the next day! As Nancy mentions, if you squeeze fresh lemon juice on your apple slices before putting them in the infuser, they won’t turn brown, so your water creation will look fresh as can be!

Cranberry and Mint Water

This cranberry and mint water is courtesy Oh So Delicioso and it is just that…oh so delicious! The red of the cranberries and green of the fresh mint simply pull in the colors of Christmas into one festive, refreshing drink of water that’s made extra refreshing by the cooling mint. Combine fresh cranberries and mint and feel free to serve immediately!

If you’d prefer something with a bit more citrus flavor, combine the mint with grapefruit instead! According to The Chalkboard, a grapefruit is a great option for flavor as it helps to boost metabolism (ideal considering the holiday feast we’re all about to eat!), strengthens our immune system and has the power to reduce stress – even the stress from holiday gift shopping!

Sometimes it’s not easy to meet all of your water-drinking needs during the holiday season, but these creative holiday-infused water recipes make drinking water a bit more merry and bright.


Halloween is just around the corner and our kids are anxiously awaiting the mountain of candy that they’ll pour out onto the living room floor after a successful trip (or two) around the neighborhood during trick-or-treating.

If you’re trying to lose weight or keep extra pounds from creeping on during the holiday season, Halloween can be filled with scary temptations that can add pounds frighteningly fast if you’re not paying attention!

But it is possible to keep the Halloween binges under control. Here are three helpful tips to help you enjoy a healthy Halloween.

Fuel up before trick-or-treating


It’s a chilly October night and what’s more comforting than unwrapping a delicious melt-in-your-mouth candy bar? Though we do love to indulge every now and again, Halloween is a holiday that’s filled with excess calories, sugar, and fat. Rather than leave your house on an empty stomach before the night’s festivities, make sure to enjoy a healthy meal that will leave you feeling satiated and less tempted to eat candy along the way.


Be mindful

Though we’ll be surrounded with sugary goodness for the next few weeks, this doesn’t mean you have to take it upon yourself to eat your way through the Halloween candy bowl! Because you aren’t eating candy for its nutritional benefits, be mindful of what you’re consuming and why. We’re not telling you to put a padlock on the candy stash, but we are saying is that if you choose to indulge in a treat, take the time to really enjoy the taste. Also, choose candy you actually want, not the one that you think you should have because it’s the lesser of the two evils. If you deny yourself that treat you’ve been craving and opt for one that you really don’t want, you’ll be more likely to keep eating to fill that void.

Keep it out of sight and out of mind


Your kids don’t have to be penalized just because you’re trying to cut calories. Rather than getting rid of their candy stash, simply put it in a cabinet or a place where you can’t visibly see it all of the time. Another way to limit the over-consumption of Halloween candy is by portioning it out into small baggies for special occasions or trying to pair it with something healthy. If your kids want a piece of candy, they can enjoy a healthy snack to go along with it. Also, if you’re a holiday baker, save some of that Halloween candy for your holiday baking efforts.

It might take a little planning and willpower on your part, but you can have a healthy Halloween.  But don’t stress about it and give yourself permission to indulge. Just don’t eat all of your kids’ candy…they won’t like that, either.

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Despite a somewhat warm transition into the season, September 22nd  was actually the first day of fall. As cooler weather settles in, scraping frost off of our car windows and zipping up jackets once again becomes part of our daily routines. Cool weather also means eating more comfort food to help keep us feeling warm and cozy. Here are three ways to maintain healthy eating habits this fall, even though pumpkin-spiced lattes and other calorie-laden foods are inevitably on the horizon.


Don’t let life throw you for a loop.

The kids are back in school and with that comes after-school activities, practices and more, which doesn’t leave you a lot of time to make or serve a healthy meal – or so you thought! Rather than becoming a regular at your favorite fast food chain, take the time to plan ahead and meal prep your weekly meals. Not only will this help you stay organized, but it will also help you stay healthy as you make a conscious effort to find recipes that are full of nutrients and won’t add on the extra pounds.


Fall into produce.

Watermelons, berries, peaches and the like are saying goodbye for another year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the delicious fall varieties of produce. Fall lends itself to healthy fruits and vegetables, like crisp apples, Vitamin A-packed pumpkin, Brussel sprouts and more! Fruits and vegetables with dark, rich colors are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients and can help you avoid piling on extra pounds. Kale is also an extremely nutritious and versatile vegetable to add to your repertoire. Here’s a simple Lemon-Garlic Kale Salad recipe from the New York Times to get you started!


Stay hydrated.

In the warm summer months, you are constantly aware of your thirst, so much that it may seem like you can never have enough water on hand. As the temperatures start to cool off, you might not be as cognizant of your daily water intake because you might not be feeling as parched. However, staying hydrated is very important in keeping your body running at an optimal level and keeping your immune system strong. Make sure you’re getting at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water every day.

 

We are huge fans of repurposing things here at Jokari. Sure, you can get a lot of use out of everyday products the way they were intended. But it’s incredible how many OTHER ways you can use things, too. This week we went a little bananas. Literally.

There are several uses for bananas for that have nothing to do with eating them. Here are seven sensational uses for bananas:

Gardening. Plant a whole banana by the roots of your rosebush to help your roses grow.  You can also use the peel to help your tomato plant absorb nutrients, or use the peel in compost.

Shine your shoes.  Yup. You can shine dark leather shoes with the inside of a banana peel.

Remove splinters. Because banana peels can soften skin, you can use them to help get a deep splinter out of your skin. Cut a chunk of the peel off, tape it to the area with medical tape overnight. In the morning, remove the peel and you will see that the splinter has worked its way out and should be sticking to the pulp of the peel!

Relieve poison ivy itch. Rub the peel over poison ivy to reduce itchiness and encourage healing.

Whiten your teeth. Simply rub the inside of a banana peel on your teeth every night for two minutes, then brush your teeth as usual. Just make sure to use a new peel each night!

Use the skin for…better skin. While we’re on the subject of nightly beauty rituals…you can also rub the inside of a banana peel on your face every night.  Rinse your face in the morning when you wake up.

Polish silverware. Crazy, right? But you can rub a banana peel on your silverware and restore its shine. Just make sure to remove any stringy material from inside the peel before you start. Finish by buffing silverware with a paper towel or cloth.

Of course, eating bananas is also encouraged. Try our banana hook to keep your bananas fresher, prevent bruising, and lasting longer.

With the summer season in full swing, everyone wants to feel good and healthy. Any summer diet would be incomplete without one ingredient: fresh veggies. They’re incredibly healthy for you, low calorie, and filling- perfect for keeping you feeling energetic in the summer heat. But finding fresh veggies isn’t an intuitive process, it takes some serious research. And you don’t want to be googling avocados all day- you want to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Well, you won’t be-leaf how easy it is to find fresh veggies with these tips:

Artichokes: When choosing artichokes, look for ones that have tight leaves and feel heavy for their size. One neat trick is to rub the leaves together and listen. If they squeak- it’s good!

Asparagus: You’ll want ones that have smooth, firm, and brightly-colored stalks. Make sure to get ones that have stalks of equal thickness to ensure even cooking times on all sides. Avoid ones with limp stalks.
avocados

Avocados: Avocados are one of the trickier veggies when it comes to ripeness. Choose ones that feel slightly soft to the touch. Slightly avocados may be ripened at home (similar to bananas), but avoid rock-hard ones and ones with dents.

Broccoli: Choose broccoli with firm stalks, tight florets, and green leaves. Avoid those that have yellowed or flowering florets.

Brussels Sprouts: Avoid brussel sprouts with loose or wilted outer leaves. Instead, choose ones with firm and bright green heads.

carrots

Carrots: When choosing carrots, look for ones that are firm and smooth- without rootlets.

Celery: Look for unblemished and green stalks and leaves- avoid any with yellow coloring.

Corn: Corn should have bright green husks and slightly moist silk. Make sure you also peel back the husk and check that the kernels are plump.

Cucumbers: When choosing cucumbers, just make sure you’re picking ones that are uniformly green (again, no yellow).

Green Beans: Choose slender beans that aren’t bendable. Ideally, they should snap rather than bend.

Kale: When it comes to veggies, yellow is typically your worst enemy- with Kale it’s no different. Avoid yellow leaves and instead choose those that are crisp and deeply colored.

lettuce

Lettuce, Spinach, and Other Leafy Greens: Look for greens with fresh, crisp leaves- stay away from those that are wilted or slimy.

Peas: The pods should be crisp and green. Avoid dried, bulging, yellow (again, worst enemy), or white pods.

Peppers: These should be shiny peppers and should also feel heavy for their size.

Potatoes: Good potatoes shouldn’t have green spots, bruises, or sprouts. Look for ones that are both smooth and firm.

Radishes: Choose radishes with unblemished roots and green tops.

Tomatoes: This is one where you’ll get weird looks in the grocery store- but it’s worth it! Tomatoes should be fragrant with an earthy smell at the stem end. They should also feel heavy for their size and the skin should be smooth.