Natural Bug Sprays

This is part of our ongoing series on using essential oils for home and body care. You can see our archive of essential oil posts here.

We’re celebrating Pollinator Week around here with a series of pollinator-related posts. When you grab a bottle of bug spray, I’m guessing that “pollinator” is not the first word that you think of, instead, it’s likely “mosquito” “f-ing mosquitos”. Am I right? But guess, what?! Mosquitos are pollinators!

Pollination aside, we will never grow to love the pesky mosquitos, ticks, and fleas. Today we’re sharing a natural, non-toxic bug spray. I find that this works well when the mosquito populations aren’t too high, but I admit, there are still times, particularly in the swampy waters at the shore, that I have to use something containing DEET. What this spray lacks in DEET, it makes up for in its beautiful scent, and in the ability to personalize (there are so many mixing options below!).

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Serious Mocktails

Mint is our ingredient of the season. We’ve used it in salads, drinks, and other potions. You can find our complete archive of mint posts here.

You know that the Seasoned sisters love to kick back with a good alcoholic beverage, but we can also appreciate a nicely mixed mocktail or two. Who doesn’t have fond memories of being served their first Shirley Temple? And while we still wouldn’t pass one up,  today we’re talking about mocktails that are a bit more creative in both their list of ingredients and combination of flavors. With the right ingredients on hand these mocktails take seconds to mix, making them a perfect alternative to offer up at your Labor Day bbq this weekend.

I’m not a huge fan of mocktails that imitate alcoholic drinks. If I’m going to skip the alcohol, I want my drink to be full of creative flavors. That said, once I come up with a winning mocktail, it often doubles as the perfect base for my next cocktail. With a splash of gin or SAGE, both of today’s drinks can become the spirited life of the party! (Excuse us, we couldn’t pass up the pun.)

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Spring Rolls {Vegetarian & Vegan}

Mint is our ingredient of the season. Our archive of mint posts is rich with ideas for drinks, salads, main dishes, and cosmetic uses!

Before last week I had eaten my fair share of spring rolls, yet never made them, but with mint as our ingredient of the season, this was one of those recipes that I was excited to stretch my muscles and try making at home. I was totally intimidated before my first wrapper hit the water, but I’m happy to report that these were surprisingly easy to prepare!


Making spring rolls at home is so much fun because you can personalize them to your tastes, choosing your favorite protein (tofu, shrimp) and vegetables (sky’s the limit!). On this particular night, we opted for veg rolls with tofu as our protein and nappa cabbage, carrots, and cucumbers as our vegetables. I did the rolling while Calder and A.Max were out on a bike ride, but while doing it, I thought about how this would be even more fun to do with a group of friends ~ setting up a big spring roll bar and letting everyone roll their own. If you try that, let us know how it goes!

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Fresh Mint Ice Cream

Mint is our ingredient of the season. In the kitchen we’ve made a few alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, salads, and meatballs. For the bathroom we made a refreshing foot scrub and some non-toxic deodorant.

You know the mint ice cream in your grocer’s freezer section? This is nothing like that. This ice cream gets all of its minty flavor from fresh mint, and with that comes a deep, green, earthy flavor from the plant. That description may sound crazy for ice cream, but when you eat fresh mint you taste so much more than the isolated mint flavor that’s added to commercial ice cream. By infusing the milk and cream with fresh mint, you’re adding those layers of complexity to this very simple dessert.

As I was sharing a cone with A. Max this afternoon, I was trying to think of another way to convey the flavor of this ice cream. At our house growing up, there was so much mint growing around the edge of the garden that it would get cut with the lawn mower. Have you ever experienced that? Mint getting cut with the green grass on a hot summer day? That’s this ice cream.

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Mint in your Lamb Meatballs?

Mint is our ingredient of the season. Of course we made mojitos. We also made some saladsiced teaagua fresca, a body scrub, and… deodorant!

I’ve been sitting on this recipe ever since Sarah and I picked mint as the ingredient of the season. It’s not that mint is the star of the dish, it’s just that, when do you ever expect to see mint in a meatball recipe? You might think it’s expected in a lamb meatball recipe, but the cookbook actually refers to these as beef meatballs. And mint isn’t the only thing flavoring this dish; it calls for four different fresh herbs and over a half dozen spices! If that sounds complicated, it’s worth the effort.



This recipe comes from the cookbook Jerusalem. If it sounds familiar, I shared a couple of recipes from the book in April. Or maybe you read a review of the book, or heard that a Jerusalem craze is taking over the nation (it’s the #1 cookbook on Amazon in the natural food cooking category). I have to admit that I didn’t realize it was that popular until writing this post, but I completely understand the compassion for this book. The range of recipes are exciting, they are made from ingredients that I want to eat, the book’s photographs are wonderful, the descriptions of places and history transport you… Through food, this book blends religions and cultures, if only it could bring peace to a troubled land.

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Minty Fresh Deodorant

Mint is our ingredient of the season. We love to use it in drinks, both alcoholic and not, in salads, both savory and sweet, and in the shower!

There couldn’t be a better time for this post. Why? Because it’s about deodorant, and I bet you’re getting your smell on by late afternoon this summer. And because this recipe requires coconut oil, which is sure to be in a liquid state on any given 80+ degree day, making mixing easy!


Now, to back this truck up, today we’re talking about making our own non-toxic, totally biodegradable deodorant that’s safe for your body and smells great too! I’ve been using this exact recipe for close to four years now and feel no need to go back to the store-bought stuff.  You may already have the ingredients in your house, but if you don’t, they are relatively cheap* and each have other uses in your house/kitchen. Finally, it’s always fun to mix up a potion, particularly one that you can personalize with your favorite scents!

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Lemongrass Mint Iced Tea

Mint is our ingredient of the season. We’ve used it in a variety of drinks, both alcoholic to non-alcoholic, salads, and body scrubs.

Today we’re sharing an amazingly simple and delicious herbal iced tea that’s the perfect addition to any summer spread. This pairing of lemongrass and mint is something I’ve carried around with me for years, only getting the urge to mix up a batch on the hottest of summer days, just like the first time I had it.


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Watermelon Mojito!

Mint is our ingredient of the season. We’re cutting mint every day for our afternoon agua fresca and evening drinks, adding some to salads, and even taking it into the shower!


Remember when I promised a use for Tuesday’s leftover watermelon mint salad? Hands up if you guessed mojitos! Today’s drink couldn’t be easier to make (or drink), especially if you have your watermelon cut up into nice little cubes.


Ingredients for One

  • ~ 10 mint leaves
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1/4 lime
  • 1/2 cup cubed watermelon mint salad
  • 1 1/2 ounces rum
  • ice
  • seltzer water



  • Place the sugar and mint leaves in the bottom of your glass and muddle them, bruising the mint leaves.
  • Squeeze the lime wedge into your glass and include the rind.
  • Add the cubed watermelon. Muddle the ingredients again, making sure to fully smash the watermelon (you could also puree the watermelon in a blender).
  • Fill your glass about 2/3 full with ice. Add the rum and water.
  • Give your glass a good stir and enjoy!



  • I reduced the sugar in this mojito because our watermelon was so sweet. Feel free to up it to 1.5 or 2 tablespoons.
  • If you want to get fancy, garnish with a watermelon wedge. ooh la la
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Watermelon Mint Salad

Mint is our ingredient of the season. In the kitchen we’ve made a few mojitos, some agua fresco, and a Tex-mex quinoa salad. For the (outdoor) shower we have a sand and salt body scrub.

Guys, today we’re throwing mint and watermelon together and calling it a salad. That’s it! It’s so amazingly simple, yet perfectly refreshing on a hot summer day. If you’re looking for a more complex recipe for watermelon salad, they’re out there, but I’m (nearly) a watermelon purist and those recipes never appealed to me. Though on one sweltering summer day in West Philly I threw mint and watermelon together, and now I’m hooked on this simple pairing!

I usually cut my watermelon in half and use a spoon to eat it straight from the rind. No joke. But, if I’m going to get fancy and call it a salad, then I have a super simple method for easily cutting the melon into cubes without making a huge mess. I promise, this is totally worth two cents.

1. Begin by cutting the whole watermelon into quarters. Follow the steps below for each quarter.


2. With the rind on the cutting board, make equally spaced cuts down through the melon to the rind – you will end up with cuts on both open faces of the melon.


3. On both open faces make equally spaced cuts that are perpendicular to your original lines.


4. The center cubes of the melon should now fall out. Once you’ve removed all of the loose cubes, stick your knife in the melon near the rind and cut out the remaining pieces.

With your watermelon cut, coarsely chop your mint.


Mix the two together and enjoy… but don’t eat it too fast, if you have some salad still in your fridge by Thursday, we’ll show you how to use your leftovers!


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Mint Agua Frescas

Mint is our ingredient of the season. So far we’ve used it for a couple of mojito recipes, but today we’re excited to offer some non-alcoholic options.

Ever sip on some Agua fresca?  It’s basically juice made in a blender.  Agua fresca is popular in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.  I actually first had it in Jamaica, but at the time I just called it juice.  It wasn’t until this past weekend that I realized it is known as agua fresca, which is a combination of fruit, flowers and seeds blended with water and sugar.  My recipes don’t contain sugar, but feel free to add something sweet to yours if that’s your thing.  After you blend the fruits and flowers, you separate out the pulp using cheesecloth or a strainer.




Water is by far my favorite beverage, but from time to time I like to switch it up a bit.  Sometimes it’s hard to find a cold beverage, besides tea, that I can make on the quick and cheap, but not anymore!  Agua fresca is the perfect remedy; it’s cold, tasty, healthy and hydrating.  There are also a million and one variations.  I looked at what I had on hand and came up with these two recipes in just a few minutes.  It’s also a great substitute for juice lovers that don’t own a juicer.  I like agua fresca because it keeps really well unlike fresh juice or traditional infused water (where you leave the fruit in the container).  Don’t get me wrong, I love both of those options, but sometimes I want something that I can make ahead of time.

Cucumber Mint Agua Fresca Ingredients & Instructions:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 cup fresh mint
  • 4 cups cold water
  • Cut a 1/2 inch slice off of the end of the cucumber. Rub it against the whole cucumber, quickly, for about 15 seconds.  Repeat on the other end.  This is supposed to draw out the bitterness.  Peel the cucumber, cut it into a few chunks and toss it in the blender.
  • Wash the mint leaves and add them to the blender along with two cups of cold water.
  • Blend on high for about one minute.  Strain the juice into your desired container and add two more cups of cold water.  I used a 32 oz Ball Jar.
  • Serve with ice and garnish with a few slices of cucumber and mint leaves, if desired.


Lemon Ginger Mint Agua Fresca Ingredients & Instructions:

  • One ripe lemon
  • 1 inch chunk of ginger or 1 Tbsp fresh ginger paste
  • 1 cup fresh mint
  • 4 cups cold water
  • Peel the lemon like you would an orange. Cut it in quarters and drop into the blender.
  • Grate the 1 inch chunk of ginger or measure 1 Tbsp of ginger paste and add it to the blender.
  • Wash and add the mint and 2 cups of cold water to the blender.
  • Blend on high for about one minute.  Strain the mixture into your desired container and add 2 more cups of cold water.


Quick Tip:

  • *If you want to add sweetener, I suggest dissolving it in a 1/4 cup of hot water before putting it in the blender.  Mint simple syrup would be perfect in these recipes.  You could also use honey, stevia, raw sugar or your preferred sweetener.


I don’t know about you, but I love having multiple drinks during meals and really all throughout the day.  Teas, juice, coffee and cocktails are my favorite kinds of treats.  Whenever I sit down to work with a fresh cup of whatever, I feel a little bit pampered and more motivated to complete the task at hand.  For me, drinking is my snacking – if that makes sense?  I have to admit I favor the lemon ginger mint recipe.  The combination of spicy ginger, fresh mint and tangy lemon transports me right back to summers in Jamaica.  Drinking it over ice is perfectly refreshing and exactly what I need during this ninety degree North Carolina summer.  It also looks a lot more appetizing, but I trust that you juice drinkers out there know that sometimes the best tasting drinks and are the worst looking.  These agua frescas are so good that ca$h the dog tried to get in on the action.  I dare you to blend up a pitcher for your friends.  You could even add a few lemon ice cubes to their glass.  I bet they’ll be requesting agua fresca every time they come over.

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