Healthy Cook: Nature supplies tasty potions and lotions

BOGO IS A GREAT WAY TO SHOP. Anything free is a bargain in my book. We can carry that a step further than you might think. How about buying a tasty food and using it outside as well as inside?

Before we had massive companies with fancy names charging as much as a small car payment for little jars and bottles of heaven-knows-what, we had women dabbing their faces with potions, lotions, creams, and salves made from ingredients supplied by nature. And we can still do it today.

Take beets. For inside, they taste great hot or cold, plain or with a butter-sugar-vinegar sauce. Have them as a vegetable or add to salads.

Simmer a few small, cooked, peeled, and cubed beets with butter, salt and pepper, a little ground cinnamon, a small piece of fresh ginger, a quarter cup brown sugar, and a jigger of cider vinegar for a few minutes.

For outside: Simmer a chopped red beet with a little glycerin for about 20 minutes in a double boiler or bowl over simmering water. Longer cooking intensifies the color. With a funnel, pour the liquid into a glass container. Use a makeup sponge or cotton swap on a stick to apply the color to lips and cheeks. Try some on an inconspicuous place first and let it sit for 24 hours for allergies, if any, to appear.

Oatmeal absorbs oils, dirt, and impurities from your skin. It’s best to wash your face or use oatmeal scrubs after a shower.

For inside: Oatmeal can be applied to your tummy any time you’re hungry. It doesn’t get any easier than this. Before you go to bed, mix a half cup of oatmeal and a half cup of milk in a bowl.

Add whatever fruit you have and a half teaspoon of vanilla. Cover it and put it in the fridge until morning.

Each of the youngsters in the family can customize breakfast by adding favorite garnishes to his or her bowl— sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, or fresh fruit.

For outside: In a bowl, mix two tablespoons each of whole milk, honey, and extra virgin olive oil. Add two tablespoons of oatmeal. Leave the paste for 10 minutes, until oatmeal becomes soft; then gently exfoliate your face, massaging it for 1 or 2 minutes. Rinse with warm, then cold water.

You’ll know what’s up, doc, if you try a carrot cosmetic for tightening your skin. But, keep some carrots for dinner.

For inside: Carrots are naturally sweet, so enhancing the flavor instead of changing it has always been my favorite method of cooking them. Pare, then slice, cube or make matchsticks. Simmer in as little water as possible until they are soft. Get fancy by cooking with a few slices of ginger, or a couple of cinnamon sticks. Toss the cooked carrots with a little maple syrup and nutmeg.

For instant sauce, simmer the carrots in orange juice in a small frying pan. Add a knob of butter and reduce the juice for a tasty sauce.

Carrots make great desserts, too. Below is a recipe for an Indian sweet that takes a bit of work, but it’s worth it.

For outside: Make a facial mask by combining a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and a cooked, mashed carrot. Gently massage your skin with this. Rinse after 15-20 minutes. Using this regularly is said to be beneficial for toning sagging skin, especially if it is dry.

People with oily skin can use a mixture of honey, fresh carrot juice, oatmeal, whole wheat flour, plain yogurt, and egg white.

Cucumbers are largely water. When they are refrigerated, it’s cold water. For inside: Tzatziki, a mixture of Greek yogurt, chopped cucumber, garlic, and herbs.

For outside: How many times have we seen pictures of people relaxing with slices of cold cucumber on their eyes? Lots!

I must admit, I haven’t tried any of these outside applications, but the inside ones are favorites.


1/2 cup whole blanched almonds and 1/4 cup pistachios, toasted
6 tablespoons butter
1 pound carrots, coarsely grated
2 1/2 cups milk, scalded
1/2 cup sugar
1⁄3 cup golden raisins

Heat butter in a saucepan. Add carrots; cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add milk and cook for 40 minutes, stirring frequently, until milk is absorbed. Add sugar and cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add almonds and raisins. Mound on a platter. Decorate with pistachio nuts. Serve warm or at room temperature.


article by TRENT ROWE, CFHN Food Editor

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