Category: Recipes

3 Steps to the Perfect DIY Mother’s Day – in 1 Hour or Less


I don’t remember the details of my first Mother’s Day, but I’m pretty sure it involved a card, and a happy hour trip to the neighborhood bistro where we’d order an appetizer, a glass of wine to split, and a complimentary bread basket. We used to do this a lot for special occasions. We were super-short on money, my husband and I, (I mean, everyone wants more, right, but we’re talking pregnant and no health insurance short.) but we also liked the high life a bit, so we’d get creative on how to indulge ourselves and not break the non-existent bank. It was a cash-only system.

Some close friends of ours (and parents to two adorable girls) remember too their first years — with $8 in the bank at times, and trying to start their own magazine (they succeeded by the way); they had to get creative. They’d watch bargain movies and discuss them in the park for hours. When you’re broke and courting, (or broke and married!) you really get to know each other when all the trimmings are stripped away. You get creative, you figure out how to keep the pampering and indulgence alive. I may be talking to some of you who know this far better than I. I would never say the broke years were the best in my life (I love travel, philanthropy and the freedom of choice that money can bring), but I will say they weren’t the worst either. My brilliant designer friend talks about how you need boundaries on a room or project to get the most creative. Our boundary for the first years with our first son was money, and I’ll never take money for granted as a result.

Our limiting factor with our second son is time. I don’t remember the first year of life with my older son Aidan being much more than slow and overwhelming. This time around, it’s flying by. The time seems to have no logic. I haven’t quit working this time either. I work from home and nurse on demand, but its a workday nonetheless. While I used to say that a real Mother’s Day is a day without the kids (and I’m not the first or last to say this, I know), this Mother’s Day I’m nursing, and it’s not realistic to think that I’m going to be able to go for a Spa Day — or that my also busy husband would have time or inclination to plan any such thing.

The bottom line is, this Mother’s Day, I need a DIY solution — a solution that ensures that I’m pampered and left feeling relaxed, energized and appreciated — and I need to create this miracle moment by myself — leaving time for the breakfast-in-bed projects and whatnot that the family will inevitably think up — for me to later clean up. Conservatively I’d say I’ve got an hour.

Here’s what I’ve come up with dear reader, if you, like me, would like or need a Mother’s Day celebration that is budget and time conscious, leaving you the rest of the day to spend with the blessed beings that enable us to celebrate this day in the first place. I’ve taken one for the team and tested this out — I know, it’s hard, someone had to ensure quality control — and I promise you that this 3-Step Mother’s Day Celebration will leave you feeling happier & healthier than when you started, in one hour or less.


Before You Begin:

Block the time with your family in advance. Above all, no cell phones, no interruptions, no cheating! Have papa take the kids to the park or somewhere outside the house for your refreshment time.

Suggestion: Make the mousse for Step 3 first, for optimal relaxation — that way, you’ll get straight out of the bath-turned-spa, and indulge!


Step 1: Relax in a detoxifying bath (approximate time: 20 minutes)

This suggestion is entirely inspired by Earthsavers Rejuvenating bath salts — my complete obsession. (Coincidentally, my first Earthsavers bath salts were a Mother’s Day gift.They smell so good to me, I keep a jar by my sink just to sniff, like grown-up glue.) The epsom salt – dead sea salt – baking soda combination is what I often use for kids’ detoxification… The peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary is just for you.:)

This combination softens skin and relaxes muscles, relieving minor aches, pains, and strains. This combination of essential oils uplifts and invigorates. Feel free to create an essential oil blend that you prefer, such as 5-10 drops of relaxing lavender, or the beautiful-smelling, funny-sounding ylang-ylang.


  • 2 Cup Epsom Salt (or dead sea salt, or a 1/2-1/2 combination)
  • 1 Cup baking soda
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil (optional)
  • 6 drops rosemary essential oil (optional)
  • 3-4 drops eucalyptus essential oil (optional)

Mix ingredients together before adding to bath. Fill your tub with water, adding 1 Cup for every 6 inches of water. Sit in this bath for 20 minutes (or however long you’d like!) After the bath is over, be sure to rinse off with a glycerin soap, to remove any impurities from the skin.


Step 2: Give yourself an energizing foot scrub (approximate time: 5-10 minutes)

This recipe was inspired by both The Idea Room and Sprout Wellness.


  • 1/2 Cup Natural raw brown sugar
  • 1 Tblsp. Coconut oil
  • 1-2 tsp. Coconut flakes
  • 3-5 drops Peppermint essential oil

Over low heat, mix coconut oil into sugar and coconut flakes until sugar just begins to dissolve — very quickly. Take off heat, add peppermint essential oil drops and stir. Take up to bathroom, lay down plush towel on the edge of tub if you have one, and massage away, in gentle, circular motion — for as long as you’d like. Rinse away with warm water.

Finish with this homemade lotion if you’re lucky enough to have some on hand, or use whatever natural favorite you have available). Put on socks — to keep your footsies pampered and moisturized — and to keep you from slip-sliding your way on to Step 3…


Step 3: Eat guiltless chocolate: my recipe for Healthy Chocolate Mousse (approximate time to make: 5 minutes; time to eat: 5 luxuriously long minutes, small slow bites required:))

This chocolate mousse is raw, vegan, a fabulous source of antioxidants, and totally indulgent


Jen’s Best Ever Healthy Raw Chocolate Mousse:

Makes one decadent cup…‘cuz it’s just for you. (Feel free to bookmark this recipe and double, triple, quadruple it as you wish.)


  • 3 pitted dates (placed in water for 3-5 minutes to soften)
  • 3 Tblsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tblsp. coconut oil
  • 2 Tblsp. raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 Cup coconut water
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 pinch sea salt (I use pink Himalayan salt for added beneficial minerals)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg

Combine dates, maple syrup, coconut oil, raw cacao and coconut water in a food processor or blender. Add avocado, one scoop at a time until mixture reaches your desired consistency (no more than one full avocado). Add salt, cayenne, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste. Don’t be afraid – these give it a mild kick that makes the flavor complicated and delicious.


Final step: return to your family utterly refreshed — with a radiant glow, a happy disposition, and yummy-smelling feet. 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama!

Recipe Weekend: Healthy Hibiscus Tea for Mother’s Day

My son Aidan and I have started a new routine. After I’ve put his little brother to bed, Aidan stays awake with me and helps me with the recipe I’m working on — cough lozenges, Ammie’s baby food, our homemade hand cream, whatever. Last night I was awake making hibiscus iced tea for a baby shower — and Aidan asked to stay awake with me. He helped with the ingredients, he even took all the pictures you see in this blog. It made me realize a new joy of getting elemental and making homemade stews and brews — I get to share it with him. It’s become our thing.

The other thing that’s become ‘our thing’ — in fact, our entire family’s ‘thing’, is the hibiscus tea that Aidan and I came up with in our wee hour time together. After the party, both my husband and my mother raved about the fruits of our labors — and admitted that neither of them had ever liked hibiscus tea before (loathe I think was the word used);this one they polished off with apparent delight. In fact, 3 large batches later, it was still gone long before the guests left.

The beautiful thing about hibiscus tea for Summer (and on the heels of poor Aidan’s stomach flu), is that it is amazingly high in Vitamin C, and the kids I know love it. Also called ‘agua de jamaica’ in Spanish, it’s a popular and refreshing beverage throughout Mexico. While normally served up with sugar, I’ve used honey instead (with natural antimicrobial properties), and included fresh spearmint (a great herb for cooling and digestion) to make it both a festive, refreshing, and healthy drink for Mother’s Day brunch, pool parties, and the lazy hot Summer days that await…

Recipe Weekend: Tummy Trouble Tea

We like to eat whole foods, we really do. We won a small victory for whole foods, in fact, tonight when my son complained about missing a salmon, quinoa and kale dinner and had to eat “junk food” at a friend’s. “You know that’s my favorite!” he complained. It doesn’t always go this way around these parts, certainly not on tempeh salad night, or any night I even entertain the idea of cooking lentils but I’ll celebrate the victories as they come. Of course we helped him to a portion of the leftovers immediately. Occasionally, however, I’ll bring home something naughty. I try to keep it aligned with the diet restrictions we choose to follow – usually gluten and dairy-free, and natural sweeteners. Tapioca flour doughnuts, tempeh bacon, rice flour muffins, cheddar cheeZe… Some great, some not so great renditions of old comfort food favorites.

There’s a joke my husband loves to tell, how he’s going to start a gluten-free, dairy-free snack company called, “It’s Not That Awful” foods. This is clearly a reference to these so-called ‘treats’ I bring home. He believes that ‘it’s not that awful” is the highest compliment most of these treats can receive. He’s a purist, and I guess I don’t blame him. I don’t always remember what the original food is supposed to taste like. He does. So when I brought home a new brand of quinoa cookies, I was surprised how quickly my husband and son scarfed them down.

And if you’ve ever heard the phrase, ‘crime doesn’t pay’, I’m now going to apply it to gluttony as well. I hate to malign the poor quinoa cookies when it very well could be the amount of cookies ingested, or the record-breaking time in which they were inhaled, but Daddy and Aidan ended up with father-son tummy aches.

This is the tea I made them, dedicated this Recipe Weekend to gluttons everywhere. Because food should also be fun. But just in case our bodies don’t agree…

Tummy Trouble Tea

  • 1 Tblsp dried catnip
  • 1 Tblsp dried peppermint
  • 5-6 small pieces fresh raw ginger (about 1/2 in thick)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 Tblsp dried chamomile flowers
  • 1/2 tsp lavender

Pour 2-3 C boiling water over the herbs. Let steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain. Enjoy. Watch the evidence of gluttony or other discomfort fade away… Makes two generous cups. One for your child, one for you.

Other options you can substitute or include: lemon balm, spearmint, anise seed — all great digestives.

The quantities are more art than science, so feel free to get creative, and find a taste you like. Or just use whichever of these ingredients you have on hand — every one of them taken alone would still help. My husband says it worked miracles on his belly. (Aidan fell asleep before he could report back.)

PS --> This tea makes a great teething tea as well. I’d substitute spearmint for the 
peppermint in this case, and steep for 5 minutes for a gentle baby remedy.