Harvesting Seeds for Next Year

harvesting seeds for next year

I recently learned that when you harvest seeds from the healthiest plants in your garden to plant the next year, you’re setting yourself up for a tremendous likelihood of success. Some say that plants grown from seeds you grew are even more likely to prosper than the seeds you buy in the store!

Why is this?

Plants grown successfully in the climate of your home garden must like it back there, right? So they will breed healthy offspring, and over time, you’ll end up with a special subset of plants that are suited specifically for your yard. Pretty amazing right? 

Time to try it

I usually pull or trim back my flowering herbs (cilantro, parsley, basil, oregano) once they start to bolt, but this year I decided to let some of them go to flower and attempt to harvest the seeds. I often do this with cilantro/coriander, because it tends to bolt so quickly and it’s nice to just keep planting it from the seeds it makes, but I’d never harvested seeds from my parsley or basil before. Turns out it’s pretty easy! Next I’ll try collecting some of my veggie seeds — and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how it all goes.

Harvesting Seeds for Next Year

Spotting Suckers: How to Prune Your Tomato Plant

We’re back with another beginner gardening tip from the CWB garden. I love being able to share the little gardening tips I’ve learned along the way in the few years I’ve been doing this. Today’s tip was inspired by a conversation I had with a good friend who’s been working somewhat dispassionately on her garden since she bought her house a few years back. She was convinced she had a black thumb and pulled me back into her garden with tons of questions about her plants.

One plant had weird little orange bugs (I think they were aphids even though I’ve never seen orange aphids before), the tomato plants weren’t flowering, and a few others were hanging on by a thread. She was hoping to get a decent tomato crop this year, and when I asked her if she’d been pulling off the suckers, she had no idea what I was talking about. I realized that not everyone troubleshoots gardening issues as obsessively as Loren and I do (we had a disastrous first year of attempting to grow tomatoes and were a little bit ridiculous about making sure to get it right last year), and that simple tips like this could do new gardeners some good. Videos are simple, so I started a series on gardening tips. My first one shows you how to make your basil plants last longer. Check it out!

Spotting Suckers pruning tomato plants

Gardening Tips Series: Spotting Suckers 

Pesto Green Beans with Shrimp [RECIPE VIDEO]

It’s hard to believe, but the beans in this dish started out purple. I’m calling it a green bean dish because it’s much easier to find green beans than purple ones, but I feel compelled to tell you that these beans started out purple! I’d seen online that purple beans do turn green when you cook them, but I think some part of me was in denial until I saw it for myself. 

pesto recipe green beans with shrimp

Gardening and Eating for Optimum Health

After reading Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson (affiliate link), I decided that this year’s garden would have as many purple, red, and blue items as possible in it. Red and purple plants possess a markedly high potency of anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant shown to promote ‘anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic activity, cardiovascular disease prevention, obesity control, and diabetes alleviation.’ This year in the garden, we have multiple types of red lettuce, purple pole beans, and red and purple carrots. We also have strawberries, beets, and blueberries, which fall into this category as well. We’ve already committed a bit of real estate to our globe artichoke plant and our green okra, but purple artichokes and okra might be on the list for future seasons if we can find a place to put them. The more the better!pesto recipe green beans with shrimp

Pesto-Making [VIDEO] 

A while back I promise that you’d be the first to know if I ever got around to making a how-to video for quick and easy pesto at home, and I finally did! I used the simple formula laid out in this video to make the pesto I included in the recipe below. I hope you enjoy it and try some creative combinations in your own kitchen to make truly unique and flavorful pesto of your own! This recipe included fresh basil and carrot tops (from purple carrots) straight from the garden, so it falls right in line with our goal of eating for optimum health.

Pesto Green Beans with Shrimp
Serves 3
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Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
  1. 3 cups green beans
  2. 1 red onion
  3. 18 raw shrimp (deveined and peeled)
  4. 4 tbs pesto
  5. 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
  6. Salt to taste (this is the herb salt I use in the video)
  7. Optional: dash of red pepper flake
  1. Blanch the beans in about 1 inch of water, save the water
  2. Add 1/2 the water to a shallow skillet and heat to a simmer
  3. Add 1 whole sliced red onion and cook until the water evaporates
  4. Once the onions are cooked through and the water has evaporated, add shrimp
  5. Cook shrimp until about 1/2 way done and add in the beans (you can toss the rest of the water
  6. Season with lemon pepper, good salt, and an optional touch of red pepper flake
  7. Turn off the heat when the shrimp are done
  8. Stir in 3 tbsp fresh pesto
  9. Serve hot with a side of sweet roasted potatoes or another whole food starch
Cultivated Wellbeing http://www.tonisicola.com/

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains an affiliate link (CWB Favorite Picks), which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. I only link to products that I USE and LOVE. All opinions are my own.

Make your Basil Plant Last Longer with this Gardening Tip

Italian Sweet Basil is one of those herbs that I find a little fussy. It’s taken a couple of years and probably eight different attempts with at least eight different plants stalling out at various stages of disappointing size (in the front, side AND back yard) to finally find some spots on our property where it likes to grow. I was so jealous when I visited some friends in Redwood City whose basil plant was like a small bush with a big thick trunk like a skinny tree a couple of years ago that I almost gave up growing it all together. But I kept on trying and finally found the sunniest, warmest places for my basil plants, and they’re happier than ever! Alameda probably won’t ever be as consistently warm as Redwood City, but this year I hope to give that crazy basil bush a run for its money. 

gardening tip basil

Gardening Tips Series: Basil Buds

I’m working on taking simple garden tasks and breaking them down into short videos to help beginning gardeners get the most out of their first crops. In conversations with friends and family starting their first gardening projects, I’m realizing just how much I’ve learned in the short time since I started gardening, and that I sometimes take that knowledge for granted. I forget that we don’t learn by osmosis, and that just because I figured something out and it’s become second nature in my garden doesn’t mean that a new gardener would know it automatically. After all, I had to learn it from somewhere too right?

So I’m planning to share the simple little nuggets I’ve picked up along the way in a video series, and today I’m sharing the first video with you!

Please subscribe to my Youtube channel so that you’ll never miss a CWB video! From time to time I post videos there that don’t make it to this blog.


Pickles Gone Wild: Wild Fermentation and the Good Bugs

wild picklesI’m excited to share this super simple wild pickles recipe with you! And I’ll say up front that although my recipe calls for green tomatoes, this formula works with cucumbers, peppers, cauliflower, and just about anything else you might be curious to try pickling. The fermentation time will vary based on what you’re pickling and whether or not you cut it up or pickle it whole, but start with this framework and you’ll have yourself some effervescently sour pickled veggies in no time. Eat a few bites at every meal to encourage healthy digestion.

What are Wild Pickles?

wild picklesWhat we’re making here is not the homemade version of what you can find in the grocery store aisles. These pickles are usually sterilized and, for lack of a better word, dead. While the internet is teeming with “refrigerator” pickle recipes that include vinegar as part of the pickling liquid, these are not true pickles in the purest sense of the word. True pickles are done with a wild ferment. They are a live food packed with living bacteria that do the souring instead of all that vinegar. And they’re awesome for your digestion and your wellbeing.

How do the bacteria get into the jar?

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Bacteria are in the empty jar in your cabinet right now. And they’re on the cucumbers growing in your garden. and they’re on the dill weed, the jalapeno, in your spice  rack … you get the point. Give the bacteria that live among us the proper environment to turn something good into something great, and they’ll be up for the task. All you need is some salt water, something to pickle, and some spices to make them delicious, and let the wild bacteria do the rest!

What’s the Difference? Why Wild?

On Tuesday in part 1 of my Why Gut Health Matters series, we talked about your gut as your body’s Gate Keeper. We covered quite a bit in that post, but one of the things we touched on was the important role gut bacteria play in the integrity of the gut lining, and therefore our health in general. Ensuring that we have a healthy ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria in the gut is an integral step toward having a healthy gut lining and preventing leaky gut.  

Before we go further though, a little vocabulary speed round is in order.

All of these words refer to the microscopic bugs that live in your intestinal tract, primarily in the colon. I’ll use them interchangeably for the most part:

  • gut bacteria
  • microbiota
  • probiotic (refers to the good ones only)
  • microbiome (refers to the whole ecosystem)

So what else do probiotics do?

  1. Probiotics play a vital role in strengthening our immune system. In fact, anywhere from 65 to 90% of our immune system lives in our gut in the form of epithelial cells (villi), which are fed by … drumroll please … probiotics. These bugs keep us well!
  2. Probiotics protect us from harmful bacteria. They take up space in our bowel that might otherwise be filled with harmful bacteria, which cause disease, create gas and bloating, promote inflammation, make us crave sugar and junk food, and can even negatively affect our mood, resilience, and cognition. They also release substances (including lactic acid) that inhibit the growth of the bad guys, preventing them from taking over and wreaking havoc on our health. 
  3. Probiotics produce bioavailable vitamins from the foods we eat. Without beneficial bacteria in our gut, we would have no access to the B Complex (biotin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folic acid, and B12). We would also be deficient in vitamin K, because the bugs down there actually synthesize it from our food.
  4. Probiotics reduce cortisol, (a stress hormone) and increase GABA (a relaxing chemical), therefore positively affecting mood disorders like anxiety and depression, and reducing stress. Reducing cortisol also improves insulin sensitivity, which is beneficial for folks at risk of developing type 2 diabetes or other metabolic disorders.

Let’s get to the Pickles

wild picklesThe instructions included in this recipe are for the green cherry tomatoes I pulled from my garden when the weather was cooling down but the vines were still full. They were very fresh when they were pickled. 

I recognize that green cherry tomatoes might not be the easiest thing to find on a whim, so if you make your pickles using larger tomatoes or cucumbers and you plan to slice them up, make sure they’re SUPER FRESH, and start checking them after 24 hours. One tip I’ve read but haven’t tried is to give your cucumbers an ice water bath before starting the process. Leave them in ice water for an hour or so before getting them into the jars to freshen them up and ensure crisp and crunch in the final product. (Adding grape or blackberry leaves will do that too, but why not do both just to make sure? Who wants a mushy pickle? No one.)

If you plan to keep your cucumbers, green tomatoes, or peppers whole, wait to check them until day 6 or 7. It takes the whole veggies a while longer to pickle all the way through than the slices. I’ve seen some recipes recommend that you leave whole pickles to ferment for up to two weeks; but again — check them. No one wants a mushy pickle.  In the meantime, check out this cool video on how to chop a bunch of cherry tomatoes super quickly!


Wild Pickled Green Tomatoes
This recipe works with all sorts of veggies, so be creative!
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  1. One 1500 mL (6 cup) jar
  2. 2 lbs green cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
  3. 2 tbs sea salt
  4. 4 cups water
  5. 1 jalapeno (I used 1/2 the seeds, but how spicy is up to you)
  6. 10 sprigs fresh dill
  7. 5 cloves garlic sliced in half
  8. 1 tbs black pepper corns
  9. 1/2 tbs whole coriander seeds
  10. 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  11. 1 tbs mustard seeds
  12. OPTIONAL: grape leaves or blackberry leaves (this ingredient is as source of tannins, which is intended to promote crispness -- more useful when pickling cucumbers)
  1. Slice the green tomatoes in half (for full-sized tomatoes, quarter them instead of halving them)
  2. Pack the jar tightly with all the tomatoes leaving at least two inches of space at the top of the jar
  3. Add all other ingredients on top of tomatoes
  4. Dissolve salt in 2 cups warm water in a separate container
  5. Pour salt water over all ingredients into the jar
  6. Fill the jar with the remaining 4 cups of water leaving no less than 1 inch at the top for gas and ensuring that the veggies are completely submerged in the liquid -- this is important. If you need to put something heavy on top to weigh down the veggies waiting to be pickled, do it.
  7. Seal tightly and leave on the counter at room temperature for 3 to 5 days (check at 24 hours for sliced cucumbers)
  8. You want the tomatoes to be firm but pickled all the way through (not mushy). When they are to your liking, refrigerate them and they will keep indefinitely
  1. BE CAREFUL when you open the jar for the first time. Gas can build up and create some effervescence as the bacteria do their thing.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://www.tonisicola.com/

Coconut Oil – Your Natural Goo Gone! [Remove Adhesive Residue]

coconut oil uses natural goo gone

3 pitches up on Cathedral Peak

This revolutionary new use for coconut oil will not fail to amaze you! I have shocked and awed a few of my climber buddies who have now incorporated coconut oil into their camping supplies just for the post-climbing clean up! I’ve been meaning to create a video for this for months, but finally after a trip to Tuolumne Meadows to climb Cathedral Peak, I’m excited to finally have video proof of this coconut oil magic trick!

The Backstory: Coconut Oil as Face Wash

coconut oil uses natural goo gone

A couple of coconut-converted climbers taping up for an adventure!

I hate being cold. I mean I really hate it. Being cold while camping might be my least favorite thing ever. Unfortunately those two things happen in tandem a lot when you’re a rock climber. When I go camping (especially in the cold), my typical facial care tends to go out the window. There’s just no way I’m going to pour cold water onto my cold hands and splash it onto my cold face to wash it at the campground. It’s just not gonna happen. I also secretly revel in being dirty out in the woods for a few days at a time. There’s something about sleeping outside that makes taking a shower or washing my face feel silly. So, instead I bring a wash cloth and a small jar of coconut oil with me. I scoop out some oil, rub it on my face, and wipe it off with a clean wash cloth. Coconut oil is not only a great makeup remover, it also works wonderfully as a gentle cleanser, leaving your face clean and soft just like a cream cleanser would.

A good long while ago, after a full day of climbing, I started my coconut oil routine on my face back at camp. My hands were covered in black adhesive residue from my freshly removed tape gloves. After I covered my face in coconut oil, I rubbed what was left into the backs of my hands, and VOILA! The black “gunk” from my tape gloves came right off! I couldn’t believe how easily it fell away from my skin, so I brought my jar of oil to Loren and asked him to try it. Once again, the tape gunk came right off! I’d discovered a natural Goo Gone made with one ingredient! Coconut oil. Is there anything this stuff can’t do??

coconut oil uses natural goo gonecoconut oil uses natural goo gone

sunset at the top of Cathedral Peak

–>check out this awesome coconut resource from Root and Sprouts! <–

Coconut Oil – Your New Gunk Remover

If you’re a climber and you use tape gloves to climb crack, you MUST try this!

If you occasionally use band-aids to protect the backs of your heals in certain less-than-comfortable shoes and end up with black marks from the adhesive, you MUST try this!

If you have kids who are always covered in band-aids, and you find yourself scrubbing them down to remove the black band-aid gunk, you MUST try this!


Don’t believe me? See for yourself. And don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you never miss a video!

Life Lessons: When your Furry Friend Rebels

Lessons in unconditional love often come from our furry friends. They tend to test us, especially when they have excited barfing problems and issues with people wearing hats — or people who are afraid of them that they feel compelled to bark at and make it worse. I have no children, but this little devil is the closest thing to them, and boy does she test the boundaries sometimes.

Due in part to the fact that we’ve created a cuddly monster who lives in our house and gets away with far more than she should, Dexter sometimes steps over the line from adorable to evil, and boy oh boy did she do it this week. This post is a story of rage patience and is also an excuse to show you more pictures and video of Dexter. #Dexterlove. (Side note: I might be starting a Dexter tumblr. If you have an opinion on this, please leave it in the comments!)

#DexterLoveBedwetting: It’s worse than you think

I have been furious at Dexter to the point of nearly seeing red exactly twice. The first time was a few years back when we were experimenting with allowing her to hang out alone in the house uncrated. She’d had a few run-ins with couch cushions, which were frustrating but repairable, but one day, she took it to the next level. She went upstairs, jumped on our brand new Keetsa mattress (the kind that you can’t flip over), dug a hole in it, and peed in the hole. 

Yes, she did that. In fact, here’s a picture of it. The little jerk tore right through the sheets too. 

dexter loveI was gone for less than an hour. I had to run to the store just a couple of blocks away to get one thing, and I came home to find chunks of our brand new memory foam mattress strewn all over the bed and floor, some of which were soaked with pee. 

I was ready to MURDER her — completely lost it. I yelled, I screamed, I pushed her face in it and said, “NO!” even though I know that doesn’t work and you’re not supposed to do that and she probably had no understanding of why I was so upset. I didn’t care, I was furious. I had no self-control whatsoever, no ability to be reasonable and recognize that she’s just a dog and sometimes dogs do things they shouldn’t do. At the time, she was only 2.5 years old. We might have been a little optimistic thinking she was ok to leave uncrated… back in the crate she went.

I ended up spraying down the hole itself and all the foam chunks with Nature’s Miracle (affiliate link), letting it all dry out, stuffing everything back in, and using the fabric from a Keetsa pillow (which matched the mattress) to sew it up. It’s my side of the bed and I sleep on it every night. Anyway, that was the first time I wanted to strangle this adorable smooshy creature.

dexter love

The second time, I was a little more in control of my rage, even though this offense was almost equally horrifying. Now that she’s 5 years old and has figured out how to use the doggy door, Dexter has been staying home alone a few days a week with total success.

Until this weekend…

Dexter Shaming

dexter love life lessons for a pet owner

Yes, she did that.

Garden Destruction

As you know from the various posts I’ve shared about gardening, it brings me great joy and fulfillment to be able to create a beautiful, edible landscape around my house. It’s fun, it’s outside, it’s manual labor, it’s creating food for our family, and it requires problem-solving skills, patience, and persistence. I’ve also learned a LOT about how to grow food. It’s a huge part of my and my husband’s lives and a big source of happiness for us. Lucky for Dexter, we’ve covered most of the property with edible plants, so this one major offense didn’t devastate our entire supply, but it was a doozy to say the least.

Dexter started her acts of terror on Friday when she jumped into our large two-tiered planter box and went to town on the dirt and plants in the front. She dug frantically (the only way she knows how) leaving huge holes and killing about 12 plants, including onions, red lettuce, and chard. We cleaned that up, added a few barriers for her (which have been successful EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE GARDEN!), and when we left her for a few hours on Sunday, she jumped over the barriers and dug up everything she’d missed the first time, including our super productive green bean plants that have been going strong all summer and probably had at least a month left in them.

That was the kicker.

The green beans did me in. Fury, rage, incredulity that this dog who will literally not step over a 1-foot barrier anywhere else in the yard would LEAP over a 3 food barrier to further destroy things — it was all too much. I was ready for someone to take her away forever! We tried to get her to go near the destruction and spray her with a water bottle so she’d associate the two. Not sure if that’s the right thing to do, but we tried it. We put up a little baby gate thing so that the next time we leave her home, she can get outside along the side of the house but not into the back yard where all the food is.

dexter love life lessons for a pet owner

Full Disclosure: I didn’t have a recent picture of this year’s crop, so the top one is from last year. I just wanted to give you an idea of the level of destruction. The gaping hole in the bottom picture is where the glorious green beans used to be.

Life Lesson: How to avoid murdering your dog

For my own satisfaction but certainly not to teach her anything she was capable of learning, I gave her the silent treatment for about an hour. She knew I was mad, but surely not why. She hid between the coffee table and the couch and looked up at me every time I passed by, and I tried not to look back. (This is after I stared her down shamefully upon seeing the destruction.) After a few passes, I looked. And there she was, being cute. My heart softened. I couldn’t help it. I mean, look at her. She’s ridiculous looking! So here’s how I handled not murdering my devilish little dog:

  1. Stare down from hell.
  2. Silent treatment for an hour.
  3. Succumb to the cuteness and finally hug her while saying mean things in a cute voice that she’ll never understand, such as
    • “I’m going to take you to the kill shelter you little weenie!”
    • “Why do you have to be the worst cutest dog ever?” 
    • “What is wrong with your little dumb brain that you could do that?”
    • “Why do you have to look like this? I’d just give you away if you didn’t look like this.”
    • “You’re lucky I’m still gonna feed you.”

You get the idea. Obviously, this is not advice for parenting humans. 🙂 It might not even be advice at all actually, just what I did to make myself feel better. It might be weird, but it definitely helped (as making a joke out of something crappy usually does), and I was able to avoid raging on her like I have in the past. I’d call that progress. 

dexter love life lessons for a pet owner

… and they lived happily ever after


Dexter might be 5 years old, but she still has the energy of a puppy, and will often completely freak out when we get home. Here’s an example. Enjoy!



 FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. I only link to products that I USE and LOVE. All opinions are my own.

[VIDEO] Why Make Your Own Salad Dressing?

What would you do if you found out that your efforts to improve your health were actually sabotaging it instead? Would you want to know some simple kitchen hacks to right the wrongs? You’d be surprised at the hidden ingredients lurking in of some of the staple foods in your kitchen right now — foods you thought were contributing to your healthy diet.

Raise your hand if you consider salad a “health food.”

As the wellness program manager of a large hospital, people always assume that I will want salad for a company lunch. After all, salads are healthy and that’s my whole deal right?


It all depends on the details. What type of greens? What type of dressing? What else is on the salad? And very importantly, will I be NOURISHED after eating this salad?

There’s a big difference between a salad made with ice burg lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, croutons, and store-bought fat-free honey mustard dressing and one made with colorful mixed greens, fresh shredded cabbage, sunflower seeds, and a homemade Dijon vinaigrette. Ingredients matter — especially that dressing!

homemade salad dressing

so many choices, and none of them great

All salad dressings are not created equal.

The type of dressing you put on your salad can make or break the meal, both flavor-wise and nutrition-wise. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that ZERO store-bought dressings are worth buying, you’d be hard-pressed to find one without unnecessary additives that you couldn’t replicate without them at home. And I have my money on the one you make at home tasting better 100% of the time.

Put down that bottle!

Bottled dressings are often full of sugar and highly processed oils. The lovely pictures of vegetables you see on the front label doesn’t often reflect what’s actually inside the bottle (learn how to decipher food labels). Here are a few examples of labels found in the center aisle of the grocery store:

homemade salad dressing

Full Fat Ranch Dressing: As you can see, the first ingredient is soybean oil. Setting aside the fact that virtually all soybeans and a huge proportion of rape seeds (the seed used in canola oil) grown in the US are of the controversial GMO variety, both of these oils are highly processed, often bleached, deodorized, and heated at high temperatures, rendering the oils rancid before they are even added to this concoction. Add that to the fact that soy in general is tough to digest and can irritate your GI tract, and both are full of inflammatory Omega 6 fats — I think we can leave this one on the shelf. But isn’t “low-fat” healthier anyway?

homemade salad dressing

Low Fat Ranch Dressing: Let’s look at the main ingredients. Water (which is free at home) and 4 different words for sugar (corn syrup, maltodextrin, sugar, and modified food starch), make up 98% of what’s in the low-fat model — no, low-fat is not healthier. Using this sugar-filled dressing would completely undermine your good, nutritious intentions.

So far, we’ve only looked at Ranch dressing, and some of you might be thinking, “No one thinks Ranch dressing is healthy. She’s cheating! I only use vinaigrette on my salads.”

Au contraire!

homemade salad dressing

“Olive Oil” and Vinegar: Why is the third ingredient a blend of EVOO and soybean oil in a salad dressing labeled Olive Oil Vinaigrette? Because soybeans are cheap, subsidized products of agribusiness, the byproducts of which have found themselves in nearly every box and bottle on the shelves of your supermarket, including most chocolate!

Why would you pay a premium for water, oil, vinegar, and sugar, along with all those other unpronounceables that we’ve seen in all three of these labels? (by the way, “natural flavors” almost always means MSG, which you’ve seen explicitly listed on some of the other labels here as well.)

Make Your Own Salad Dressing

Now that I’ve convinced you that you’re buying garbage in the dressing aisle, let’s talk solutions. Watch me transform ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen into a delicious, nutritious dressing with real ingredients. This simple recipe takes seconds to prepare and if you double it, you can store it in a glass jar to use all week.

I’ll be posting additional how-to recipe videos in the coming weeks that will include more fun salad dressings, along with other “Why Make Your Own” favorites.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel to ensure that you don’t miss out!


[VIDEO] Instant Homemade Coconut Mayonnaise

I’m so excited to share my first how-to video with you at the end of this post!

I have to admit that I’ve spent the vast majority of my life hating mayonnaise. It’s only been with the semi-recent trend of “aioli” on menus in nicer restaurants that I’ve learned to like it.

Aioli is just fancy mayonnaise after all.

I’ve started to occasionally use flavored mayonnaise (like lemon or wasabi) in certain salad dressings and sauces, and especially in dipping sauces for steamed crab and artichoke, but the plain-Jane mayo in the stores has always still repulsed me a bit, even if I only plan to mix it into something else. On my trips down the aisles of my local grocer, I’ve noticed that the mayonnaise on the shelves is chalk-full of industrial oils like canola and soy, and even those claiming to be superior for your health contained refined seed oils. There are a few brands out there that use olive oil, but even then, it’s refined olive oil and often accompanied by a less desirable oil in the blend.

Aside from the obvious problems with corn and soy, the issue I have with store-bought mayonnaise is not only with quality, but with its shelf life and potential rancidity of the oils. Store-bought mayo lasts forever unopened on the shelf and then almost as long in the fridge. I don’t really want to eat anything that lasts forever (except raw honey). The consumer also can’t control for the quality of eggs or the extraction process of the oil that’s used in store-bought mayonnaise. I happen to like to control as many variables as possible when it comes to my own kitchen and what I stock for my family, so…

I decided to make my own mayonnaise – one that would pass my own health and wellness test:

  1. Would I be able to cook with this mayo without destroying the healthy components or turning the oil rancid?
  2. Would this mayo contain healthy fats that haven’t been overly heated or deodorized using toxic chemicals?
  3. Would this mayo have a mild enough flavor that I could use it on just about anything?

The one oil that passed this test was coconut oil. I used extra virgin organic coconut oil, gently melted just enough for it to change from solid to liquid. It can’t be too hot, because it could accidentally cook some of the egg when you drop it in. We definitely don’t want that, so just warm it enough that it liquifies.



You need exactly two tools to make this mayo (well, three if you count the knife to cut the lemon before squeezing). One of them is a wide-mouthed jar. Easy enough, but this is not negotiable. It doesn’t work in a bowl. Needs to be a jar or some sort of cylinder with a bottom and open top that’s wide enough to fit the head of the immersion blender inside.

And that’s the second thing: you MUST have an immersion blender. It’s a must. I tried making this in a regular blender and it was liquid disaster — even after a solid minute of blending. If you don’t have an immersion blender, I’m making an appeal to you to get yourself a good one. They’re great for blended soups, cauliflower mash, and electric mixing. They also work great for fatty coffee.

The one I have has held up for a long time. It’s a single-speed, and I’ve lost the attachment for whisking, so I’m ready for an upgrade. This is the one I plan on getting. I’m a big fan of KitchenAid products, and this one is sweet. If you’re in the market for a new, inexpensive kitchen gadget, consider getting an immersion blender.immersion blender coconut mayonnaise


There are definitely cheaper options (I’ve even seen some as low as $16 without the attachments), so if you want to go the cheaper route, give it a try. I spent about $40 on the one I use in this video, and it’s lasted for literally almost 10 years — and it still works just fine. For a few bucks more, you can get the 3-speeds and more attachments. 

Ok, on to the show … Watch the magic unfold in mere seconds with my first-ever how-to video!

Homemade Coconut Mayonnaise

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