Tag Archives: Boyajian Citrus Oils

Homemade Remineralizing Mouthwash

I am a bit of a stickler for oral hygiene.  Hand to God – I floss religiously! My dentist loves me!  But there is one thing he would like me to do that I just can’t get down with – swishing with some iteration of Listerine every day.  That stuff is excruciating!!! I dunno, pain is our bodies’ way of saying “yeah, not so much” so I’m just not keen on lighting my mouth on fire twice a day in the name of oral heath.

Due to a steady childhood diet of antibiotics to treat chronic ear infections, my husband’s adult teeth have especially vulnerable enamel.  He is the king of good oral hygiene and still faces a lot of challenges with his teeth.  Lately we have been thinking that all of this brushing, flossing, water piking, prescription pastes and rinses, etc. might be helping to stave off decay (though not very well!), but they aren’t really doing anything to promote health.  There is a big difference between eradicating or warding off disease and actually promoting health, right?

So I decided to look into more holistic approaches to having healthy teeth and gums. One of the first things I noticed was tons of people going on about homemade remineralizing mouth rinses.  Pretty much all of them contain calcium carbonate, trace minerals and purified water.  The variations come in how you sweeten it (if at all) and the essential oils you use for flavor and for their antibacterial/antifungal properties.

What the heck is a remineralizing mouthwash, and why should you use one?  Simple. We eat and drink a lot of acidic, sugary things that are no bueno for our teeth.  They create a plaque promoting environment in our mouths, and we end up with fur coated teeth by the end of the day.  A remineralizing rinse is a safe, all-natural liquid that bathes your teeth in a gentle, good-for-them, mineral-rich, neutralizing and quite tasty solution.

Can I say how much I LOVE this stuff???  It’s good for your teeth and gums, tastes amazing, leaves your mouth fresh and clean and doesn’t in the least bit hurt (unless you overdo it with the cinnamon oil – yikes!).  My husband and I both like how fresh it leaves our mouths feeling and tasting, and we’ve both noticed that our teeth are less “fuzzy” at the end of the day.  Plus, everything in it is natural, inexpensive, easy to find and can be used for other things around the house and kitchen.  You could actually swallow the stuff and it won’t make you sick – try that with Listerine.  Uh, don’t swallow it tho, because gross – you’re using it to flush the yuckies from your mouth!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Calcium carbonate powder – this is just the powder form of calcium many of us take in our daily supplements.  Apparently you can also use it to make your own chalk paint!  You can find this online or in a vitamin store, and it’s very inexpensive.
  • ConcenTrace Trace Mineral Drops – this actually is a daily mineral supplement, made from water in the Great Salt Lake.  You can add it to juice or your smoothie, and some people add it to RO water to improve the taste.  I got mine on Amazon.
  • Xylitol – this is a natural sugar alcohol.  It is used in toothpaste, sugar free gum, etc. and it’s actually good for your teeth because it starves the bacteria in your mouth.  You can also use it to sweeten food or drinks, but I have read that you need to limit you daily intake to under 9 tsp. or it can have a laxative effect.  It tastes like “less sweet” sugar with no chemical or other off taste.  I like it in my iced tea!
  • Food-Grade Essential Oils – this is important – you need to use oils that are meant to flavor FOOD not make candles or perfume!  Lorann Peppermint and Cinnamon oils are fabulous (and extremely potent), and I’m a huge fan Boyajian citrus oils.  They can all be found at King Arthur, Sur la Table or Amazon.  At a minimum you need to have some peppermint or cinnamon oil in there for their antibacterial/antifungal properties.  Citrus oils are a flavor bonus.
  • Purified water – I use water from my Zero Water pitcher, but you can use RO or bottled as well.

Here’s how to make a batch:

In a clean, small jar with a tight fitting lid, combine

  1. 1 cup purified water
  2. 1 tsp. calcium carbonate powder
  3. 1 tsp xylitol (more or less to taste), optional but beneficial
  4. 8 drops ConcenTrace trace mineral drops
  5. Essential oils – my fave combos are: Cinnamint – 5 drops peppermint + 3 drops cinnamon; Cinnamon-Orange – 3 drops cinnamon + 5 drops orange;  and Lemon-Mint – 5 drops peppermint + 5 drops lemon.  *Tip:  cinnamon oil is POWERFUL, so go easy on that one unless you’re a big fan of fireballs!

Shake well every time you use it to distribute the oils and the calcium which will settle to the bottom, and swish a Tbsp in your mouth after you brush your teeth.  I also like to swish a bit after drinking coffee or tea.  Enjoy!

Not gonna lie – I get a kick out of repurposing this wee little vodka bottle for my mouthwash. It looks so cheeky sitting on my bathroom counter!


My Favorite Ingredients – Part 1

I thought I would share with y’all some of the ingredients I reach for over and over to make my life easier in the kitchen and add big flavor to our meals.  Packaged/processed foods use all kinds of spooky chemicals to trick your brain into thinking food is tasty.  Making food that is really and truly delicious is simply about choosing really and truly delicious ingredients.  I hope you’ll add a few of these gems to your pantry or fridge and enjoy them in your cooking.   And like a mother who doesn’t play favorites with her children, I have listed these items in no particular order of “love” or frequency of use.  Here are the first 5:

Dry Vermouth - A fabulous aperitif and a major source of flavor and brightness in stews and sauces.

Dry Vermouth – A fabulous aperitif and a major source of flavor and brightness in stews and sauces.

Dry Vermouth – I’m not sure how or why that first bottle of Vermouth found its way into my kitchen.  I’m not a martini drinker, so it just sat there, taking up valuable space.  And then I realized that Vermouth is just herb-infused wine.  Hey, why couldn’t I cook with it?  Oh, yeah, you can cook with it!  A tablespoon or two added to a pan sauce brings brightness and depth.  A splash adds sophistication to crisp veggies sautéed in butter with a bit of shallot.  I use it in pork or chicken stews that call for white wine.  Basically if a recipe calls for a cup or less of white wine I feel comfy using Vermouth.

Even though Vermouth is a fortified wine (i.e. higher alcohol) it doesn’t come off as “boozy” or overpowering.  One caveat – use a high quality Vermouth that you would enjoy drinking as an aperitif.  No $5 bottles from the supermarket.  My favorite Vermouths are from Dolin – so well crafted! I keep opened bottles in the fridge after sealing them with a vacuum stopper, and I find the flavor is fine for at least 6 months.  Bonus:  whenever I break out the Vermouth to cook with, I pour myself a wee nip to enjoy while I cook.  Cook’s treat!

My flavor babies - dropper bottles are a must have to avoid being heavy handed with them.

My flavor babies – dropper bottles are a must-have to avoid being heavy handed with them.

Citrus Oils –  Citrus is a favorite flavor profile of mine, but keeping oranges, lemons, limes and other seasonal citrus on hand is a pain and expensive.  How to natually add citrus flavor without buying, storing and zesting citrus fruit?  All-natural citrus oils!  Citrus oils are distilled from citrus peels, where all the flavor is located.  Instead of a teaspoon of lemon zest in a recipe, you just add a few drops of lemon oil – no fuss, no muss, no grit, and no danger of getting that nasty bitter pith in your food.  Citrus oils are great in cookies, cakes, muffins, salad dressings, cocktails, smoothies, even coffee.  Two drops of orange oil in a cafe au lait is sublime, as is a drop of lemon oil in an espresso.

I decant my oils into small, dark bottles and top them with droppers.  The dropper is a must, because citrus oils are powerful and it’s very easy to ruin something with too much (done that!).  I also store them in the fridge to prolong their freshness.  As you can see mine are past their expriry, but because I refrigerate them in small, dark bottles, they taste and smell fine.  I think it buys me a few extra months of use! Important:  be sure you use a citrus oil that is intended for cooking – not “essences” that are meant for use as scents.

Take your pasta sauces from

Take your pasta sauces from “meh” to “Mama mia!” with Italian tomatoes

Imported Italian Tomatoes  Every summer growing up we would “put up” a year’s worth of home canned tomatoes.  I continued this pleasant summer ritual until a few years ago when I discovered imported Italian tomatoes.  Home canned tomatoes taste great and they “function” better than American canned tomatoes because American canned tomatoes are processed with calcium chloride, a firming agent.  The addition of a firming agent is great if you are using the tomatoes for chili, soup or a casserole and you want the tomatoes to remain in distinct chunks.  If you want them to break down into a silky smooth pasta sauce, forget it.  We always used our home canned tomatoes for pasta sauce, but home canned tomatoes also have their flaws, namely they are pretty watery and you have to cook them forever to thicken them up.

Enter Italian canned tomatoes, whether they be “true” DOP San Marzanos, or the less expensive and quite similar “San Marzano” tomatoes grown elsewhere in Italy.  What’s the difference?  Think of it this way – it’s the difference between a sparkling wine from California and Champagne from France.  It’s basically the same thing (yeah, yeah, terroir, I know), but the California wine can’t be sold as “Champagne” because it does not originate in the registered Champagne region of France.  Tomatoes labeled “DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) San Marzano” are a specific variety grown in the small San Marzano region of Italy.  San Marzano tomatoes are grown elsewhere, including the US, and are quite similar in taste/texture.  They are also much cheaper than the “real” thing.

There is no comparison between Amerian and Italian canned tomatoes.  Italian tomatoes are packed in a thick tomato puree, not juice as they are in America.  Italian tomatoes never contain calcium chloride or sugar (another common but stupid additive here in the land of diabesity), and they usually don’t contain salt or any other seasonings.  They are thick, meaty, intensely flavored tomatoes in a rich sauce – a blank canvas for you the culinary artiste to use and season as you wish.  Italian tomatoes can be had at good prices in warehouse clubs and some supermarkets, but I always order mine by the case from Amazon.  They come in whole, diced or crushed in 28 oz or 15 oz cans.  For some reason the price fluctuates a lot on Amazon, so keep your eye on them till you see a price you like – somewhere around $25-$35 per case.  Buon appetito!

Nut oils - great for your palate and your heart!

Nut oils – great for your palate and your heart!

Nut Oils – Oh Trader Joe’s, you really have turned me on to soooo many wonderful things.  Every Christmas they sell a gift set of three nut oils.  I bought one and wowza.  There is no better salad dressing in the world than one you make with Walnut oil, especially roasted Walnut oil if you can find it.  Revelatory.  A hunk of crusty bread dipped in Pistachio oil?  Hide the can, because I could drink that buttery, faintly floral-sweet oil straight from it!  Toasted Sesame oil – don’t even try to make anything Asian without it – what an amazing flavor bomb!  And a salsa or salad made with Avocados goes from yum to “I can die happy now” with a drizzle of rich, fruity Avocado oil.  These oils are not only extremely flavorful and delicious, they are healthful additions to your diet.  Go nuts!

Mmmmm fatty-licious!

Mmmmm fatty-licious!

Clarified Butter – otherwise known as Ghee.  Alright, so this one isn’t the most healthful fat.  But since the rest of the time you are cooking with Organic coconut oil, EVOO and all those wonderful nut oils, you can afford to indulge in some good old-fashioned saturated animal fat once in awhile.  I discovered this item at Trader Joe’s and bought it on a whim.  I use butter all the time, and I know the cook’s trick of using half butter, half some other oil to raise the smoke point.  Works, fine, right?  Is it really worth the bother to have this specialty product on hand just because it doesn’t have those pesky burnable milk solids?  Oh baby, yes!  For some reason clarified butter tastes “more buttery” than butter.  It really brings the flavah!  I use it for scrambling eggs, grilling sandwiches, sautéing veggies or aromatics and making rouxs.  I recently used it to griddle up a batch of Arepas, as if Arepas could get any more delicious.  This one is definitely a pantry staple for me!

I hope I’ve encouraged you to try something new!  I’ll be back soon to share five more things I don’t want my kitchen to ever be without.  Blessings….  E.

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