Mood Mists

Oil and water may not mix, but in the case of essential oils, they form a divine -- and useful -- combination. Extracted from leaves, fruit peels, petals, and other plant parts, essential oils capture nature's subtle fragrances and can even balance your mood, aromatherapists say.

Some, like peppermint and eucalyptus, are believed to be stimulating and uplifting; others, like lavender and frankincense, are considered relaxing and centering. These mists are the simplest way to experience aromatherapy for yourself. Spray the air around you, mist your hair and skin, or spritz them on linens to leave a light scent. (They won't stain.) Whether you're stressed or sluggish, one of these mists will suit your mood.

The Pick-Me-Up
1 drop eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
2 drops geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
3 drops peppermint (Mentha piperita)

The Calm-Me-Down
2 drops bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
1 drop frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
3 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

To Make the Sprays
1. Fill a clean, dry mini spray bottle with 4 ounces of pure distilled water.
2. Using a dropper, carefully put the selected blend of essential oils directly into the spray bottle.
3. Tightly close the bottle and shake vigorously to combine. Be sure to shake it before each use, as the water and essential oils tend to separate.

Text by Donna Garlough; photograph by Rita Maas

Vitamin-Packed Recipe - Moroccan Carrot Salad

Completely unprocessed and unrefined, whole fruits and vegetables offer vitamins in a form your body uses best. In fact, no supplement manufacturer has been able to replicate the way nature's bounty preserves and delivers these nutrients. Here are 20 recipes that are packed with vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. The best part: They're delicious too.

Carrots can do more than help eyesight. They are a key distributor of vitamin A, which plays an important role in our ability to guard against colds and flus -- and possibly helps to prevent cancer.

  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 2-inch pieces (halve pieces again if thick)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop.
  2. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook carrots until crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes, adding raisins during last minute of cooking. Drain in a colander; rinse under cold water until cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and cayenne; season with salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, slowly add olive oil.
  4. Add carrots, pistachios, and cilantro to dressing; toss to combine.
From Body & Soul

3 Times a Week Banana Anti-Aging Mask

This excerpt is from Anti-Wrinkle Treatments for Perfect Skin, by Pierre Jean Cousin.

Bananas are one of the most nourishing fruits available because they contain large quantities of magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, iodine, and vitamins A, B (folic acid), E, and F.

Here they are teamed with heavy cream (traditionally used to prevent wrinkles) and organic honey in a recipe crammed full of nutrients.

1 small banana
2 tablespoons fresh heavy cream
1 tablespoon organic honey
1 tablespoon oat flour
Bottled or spring water
Rose hydrosol (see “Note,” below, about hydrosols.

Mash the banana, using the back of a fork, and then add cream, honey, and flour. Stir to mix well. You may need to add a little more cream or flour to obtain the consistency of thick cream of yogurt.

Apply mask to the clean face, including the area around the eyes and the neck, and leave on for 30 minutes. Rinse off with bottled or spring water and cotton pads, and dab on a little rose hydrosol, allowing to dry naturally.

Effect: nourishes
Skin types: dry, aging
Frequency of use: 3 times a week
Shelf life: 6 hours in refrigerator
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Treatment time: 30 minutes

Note about hydrosols: Also known as floral waters (but not flower waters), hydrosols are a byproduct of steam distillation, created while extracting essential oil. Hydrosols have properties similar to those of their related essential oils, although inevitably in a less concentrated form, but they are enriched with various water-soluble active ingredients. Their gentleness makes them an excellent way to tone, hydrate, and rebalance the pH of the skin, so they are frequently recommended as final cleansers/toners after cleansing or nourishing masks.

Olive Oil to Fight Aging - Tomato-Paprika Salad Dressing

Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fat, olive oil figures prominently in the Mediterranean diet. It may explain the lower rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and age-related cognitive decline in people who follow this way of eating.

Tomato-Paprika Salad Dressing

Spice up the traditional tomato and mozzarella salad with this antioxidant-rich dressing, or use it as a light sauce for firm white fish, grilled chicken breast, or pork chops.

Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes

Makes 1 1/2 cups
  • 3/4 pound plum or other ripe tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons light-brown sugar
  • 1 small clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild paprika
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. With a paring knife, cut a shallow x in the bottom of the tomatoes. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add tomatoes and boil 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to a bowl. When cool enough to handle, peel and discard their skin. Cut tomatoes into quarters lengthwise. Using your fingers, discard seeds. Transfer tomatoes to a blender.
  2. Add vinegar, sugar, garlic, and paprika and puree until smooth. Remove the center cap, and with the motor running, add oil in a steady stream, blending well. Season with salt and pepper.
From Body+Soul

Strawberries For Beautifully Toned Acne-Free Skin

So, what's so spectacular about strawberries?

Strawberries can be used for conditioning and toning the skin. They are rich in salicylic acid, an ingredient found in many commercial acne creams and thus are the best treatment for acne-prone skin. Strawberries help to tone the skin, lighten any pigmentation problems and keeps the skin smooth and supple.

Here's the scoop on how to make a fresh strawberry mask. Mix 1/2-cup fresh strawberries with a tablespoon of sour cream for a weekly facial mask. The strawberry juice helps to tighten your skin, and at the same time the cream adds precious emollient for your dehydrated and tired out skin. Leave the mask on for 20mins then wash off with warm water. Pat dry face and moisturize to seal in the moisture. Now enjoy your new visage - taut, supple and rejuvenated.

If you don't have sour cream, just simply cut the strawberry into half and rub it all over your face gently. Again, leave it on for 15-20 mins and wash with warm water. Moisturize and enjoy your newly rejuvenated skin.

Another strawberry tip - Eating fresh strawberries will also help whiten your teeth and keep your breath fresh. Just rub the strawberry over your teeth and try to leave the juice on your teeth for as long as you can. The juice helps to loosen plague. Your teeth will be visibly whiter after that.

Give it a try. Not only are they great for our skin and health, strawberries just taste so good and smell heavenly

Milk for your skin


The lactic acid in milk serves as a gentle skin exfoliant, while its natural fat content acts as a body moisturizer. Add a gallon of whole milk to a tubful of warm water and soak. It's a great alternative to sugar and salt scrubs, which may be too abrasive for people who suffer from eczema, psoriasis, or sensitive skin. If you prefer a fragranced bath, add 10 to 20 drops of an essential oil such as lavender.

Parsley-Flaxseed Pesto for Healthy Skin

The addition of flaxseed gives this pasta favorite a healthy boost. This pesto will keep for a week in the refrigerator or up to a month in the freezer. To serve, bring the pesto to room temperature (never heat pesto) and add a little water if necessary to get the right consistency.


Serves 6


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Cook linguine until al dente according to package instructions; drain, and reserve 3/4 cup cooking water. Return linguine to pot, and add pesto and reserved cooking water; toss well to coat. Season with salt. Serve with Parmesan, if desired.
From Body+Soul, April 2006

DIY Eye Soothers

The skin in the eye area is especially thin and sensitive, so it flares up fast when you're stressed and fatigued -- or surviving on a less-than-perfect diet. Natural remedies, though, can lessen redness or puffiness almost as quickly as it appears. Many remedies use simple ingredients that are already in your kitchen. With the help of Dr. Jeanette Jacknin, a holistic dermatologist and author of "Smart Medicine for Your Skin," we've assembled five of the most effective solutions.

Chamomile, Green, or Black Tea Bags
Chamomile tea, a natural anti-inflammatory, helps ease redness and puffiness around the eyes. Green and black teas contain compounds called tannins, plus caffeine. Tannins have an astringent effect on the skin and shrink swollen tissue, while caffeine constricts blood vessels to reduce swelling.

How to Use
Steep two chamomile, green, or black tea bags in just-boiled water for three minutes. Remove them from the water and place in the refrigerator until cooled. Place one bag over each eye and relax for 15 minutes.

Chilled Spoons
In this case, it's the cool temperature of the metal spoons that constricts blood vessels, which helps decrease redness and puffiness in the eye area.

How to Use
Place four metal spoons in a glass of ice water. When chilled, place one spoon on each eye, following the contour of your eye socket. As the spoons begin to warm, switch them with the spoons chilling in the glass of ice water. Continue this process until swelling subsides.

Cold Milk
As with the spoon method, temperature is key; cold milk constricts blood vessels and reduces swelling. The fat in whole milk soothes dry, irritated skin.

How to Use
Pour ice-cold whole milk or cream into a small bowl; soak two cotton balls in the liquid. Then squeeze out the cotton balls slightly and put one over each eye. Once the cotton balls warm up, soak two more and repeat for up to 15 minutes.

Cucumber Slices
A classic remedy for puffy, irritated eyes, cucumbers contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid, both of which help reduce swelling.

How to Use
Rest two 1/2-inch-thick cucumber slices on a bed of ice to chill. Once cool, place one slice over each eye, lean your head back, and relax for 10 to15 minutes. Remove the slices and rinse your face with cool water.

Egg Whites
Egg whites act as an astringent, making your skin appear tighter and smoother. They are also high in vitamin B2, or riboflavin, which is associated with improved circulation.

How to Use
Beat two egg whites until stiff, and then apply to the under-eye area using a brush. Let the mixture dry for about 15 minutes; rinse well with water. Jacknin also recommends adding a drop or two of witch hazel to the beaten whites, which further reduces swelling and keeps the egg whites from drying too rapidly.

Text by Erin Sinclair

Don't skip the produce aisle just because it's cold outside

Raw or cooked, these showy ruffled greens bundle great taste with a host of key nutrients.

When you bring kale home from the farmers' market, you might not know whether to cook it or arrange the attractive green, blue, and purplish leaves in a flower vase. This cabbage cousin, cultivated for more than 2,000 years, comes in even frillier ornamental varieties.

It's the culinary kind that offers the complete package: good looks, plenty of nutrients, and, when eaten young, a mild flavor.

Raw Kale Salad with Gouda, Pear, and Walnuts
Sweet Potato with Kale and Ricotta

Health Benefits
Considered a "nonheading" cabbage because the central leaves don't form a ball, this verdant beauty grows in both warm and cool climates, and some types even grow in frost and snow. Common varieties include the tightly curled Scotch Vates and the red- to purple-veined Red Russian. The latter is sweet enough to eat raw, as is Lacinato, or "dinosaur," kale, an Italian heirloom variety.

Flavor aside, kale holds its own among fellow members of the Brassica family, including broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi. The low-calorie green provides an excellent source of both vitamins A (as beta-carotene) and C, along with a decent amount of fiber.

Kale also delivers vitamin B6, which helps maintain healthy nervous and immune systems, as well as iron and calcium. In fact, our bodies can better absorb the calcium in kale than in spinach, as it has less oxalic acid, a substance that can disrupt the nutrient's absorption. Kale's vitamin K content, essential for proper blood clotting, far surpasses that of broccoli, spinach, and Swiss chard.

Perhaps most impressive, this versatile green contains especially high amounts of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful phytochemicals that may help safeguard the eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts.

Like many Brassicas, kale also delivers a hearty dose of sulforaphanes. These anticancer, antimicrobial compounds may suppress tumor growth by raising the body's levels of cancer-fighting enzymes.

How to Buy
Look for deeply colored, crisp-textured leaves free of blemishes or yellow spots. Avoid bunches that appear wilted or limp. Stored loosely in a plastic bag, kale should last two to three days in the refrigerator.

Cooking Tip
Strip the leaves off extra thick or woody stems with a paring knife; discard stems. For easy cutting, stack the leaves, roll them, and cut crosswise into thin ribbons. Braising or sauteing kale both work well, but don't boil it; you will lose some vital nutrients, such as vitamin C, folate, and thiamin.

Nutrition Breakdown
Per 1 cup cooked, chopped:

Calories: 36 kcal
Fat: 0.52 g
Fiber: 2.6 g = 10 percent of DRI*+
Vitamin A: 885 mcg** = 126 percent of DRI
Vitamin C: 53.3 mg = 71 percent of DRI
Vitamin K: 1,062.1 mcg = 1,180 percent of DRI
Calcium: 94 mg = 9 percent of DRI
Iron: 1.1 7 mg = 7 percent of DRI

* DRI, Dietary Reference Intake, is based on National Academy of Sciences' Dietary Reference Intakes, 1997 to 2004
+ Percentages are for women 31 to 50 who are not pregnant
** Retinol activity equivalents (RAEs). 1 RAE = 1 mcg retinol or 12 mcg beta-carotene

Text by Cheryl Sternman Rule; recipes by Charlyne Mattox