Natural Insect Repellent

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As you head outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather, it is important to keep those pesky insects away. Instead of covering yourself with harsh chemicals, keep it natural with a do-it-yourself insect repellent. Whether you prefer a spray or a lotion, we’ve got you covered.Bug spray bottles

Natural Bug-Repellent Spray

Ingredients:

  • Small spray bottle
  • 2 oz. Distilled water
  • 1 1/2 oz. Witch hazel
  • 5 drops Cinnamon oil
  • 5 drops Rosemary oil
  • 5 drops Eucalyptus oil
  • 5 drops Clove oil
  • 10 drops of Lavender oil
  • 5 drops of Peppermint oil

Directions:

Using a funnel, add water and witch hazel to spray bottle. Add essential oils and shake. Be sure to give the spray bottle a good shake before each use and spray directly onto skin.

Repellent Lotion:

Ingredients:

  • Small lotion bottle
  • 4 oz. Plain, fragrance-free lotion
  • 5 drops Clove oil
  • 10 drops Lemongrass oil

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix lotion and essential oils. Add mixture to lotion bottle and apply directly to skin.  

Mother’s Day Mason Jar Vases

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Nothing says “I love you” quite like a bouquet of freshly cut flowers. This Mother’s Day, why not take it a little step further and create these beautiful, DIY hand-painted mason jar vases that you know she’ll love. Better yet, if you’ve got little ones of your own, get them involved too! Mix and match multiple colors or simply choose the ones that go wonderfully with her favorite flowers. Either way, these do-it-yourself vases are easy to make, plus, Mom will know that they were painted with love.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Mason jars
  • Chalk paint in your preferred colors
  • Sandpaper
  • White chalk
  • Clear acrylic spray
  • Paintbrush

1. Paint the outside of each mason jar with chalk paint and let dry for one hour before applying another coat.

2. After the jars have completely dried, use sand paper to take the paint off of the raised, designed areas of the jar.

3. Rub white chalk over jar to create a distressed look.

4. Seal jars by spraying thoroughly with clear acrylic spray and let dry for at least two hours.

5. Once dry, add your mom's favorite fresh flowers.

How to Make Baby Food

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Making your own baby food is easier than you might think! In doing so, you can be confident you’re giving your baby the best and healthiest ingredients available. All you need is fresh produce, a saucepan, and a blender or food processor to get started.

Cook times and methods will differ slightly depending on the produce, but you can use this simple process to prepare most fruits, vegetables and legumes for your baby.Homemade carrot baby food in a jr

Prep

Wash or peel the produce you’d like to use for your puréed baby food. Baked apples, mashed sweet potatoes and cooked carrots are great first foods. Cut the food into small pieces.

Cook

Steam or bake the food until it’s very tender. We don’t recommend boiling your fruits and veggies as it reduces nutrient content. Foods must be cooked well. They are done when they can be pierced or mashed easily with a fork.

Purée

Process or mash the cooked food until it’s smooth. You want your baby to have food that is soft and velvety in texture. You may need to add water or milk to some foods to get the right consistency. Although water will slightly dilute the food’s nutritional value, the difference is not significant.

Strain

Spoon the food through a sieve to smooth the lumps and remove unprocessed parts of the produce (this step may not be required depending on the produce).

Portion

Spoon the purée into single-serving dishes or storage containers; serve the purée to your baby. Store it promptly for later use. We recommend using the “ice cube tray” method. The concept is simple: make large quantities of basic food purées using a standard blender or food processor then freeze it in single-serving ice cube trays. With this method, you only need to make baby food once, maybe twice, per week. Over time you build up a large variety of single serving baby food cubes in the freezer, which stay fresh for up to two months.

 

 

Make Homemade Infused Oils

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Flavor-infused oils are an easy, affordable way to add subtle flavor to a variety of dishes. Use them to dress up salads, roasted vegetables, grilled chicken or fish. Add new depth to your soups or a dash of flavor to your mashed potatoes. Or simply use them as a dipping oil for chunks of Sprouts Artisan Bread. As you can see, the possibilities are endless!

We recommend using canola oil because it’s inexpensive with a neutral flavor base. Olive oil has its own pungent flavor that tends to cover up the flavors of certain herbs. Although canola oil is called for in the recipes below, corn, peanut or expeller-pressed grapeseed will also work well.

Infused Oils

Basil Oil

Blanch two cups of fresh basil in a large pot of boiling water. Submerge the basil leaves in the boiling water for about 10–15 seconds until they’re just wilted. Remove them and plunge them into the bowl of ice water. Drain the leaves and pat them dry with paper towels to remove as much water as possible. Place the basil in a blender along with one cup of oil. Blend on high speed until it is pureed. At this point, you can use the basil oil as is. Or if desired, you can strain it through a fine mesh-sieve.

Rosemary Oil

Cook one cup olive oil with 5–6 rosemary sprigs in a small saucepan over medium heat, for about five minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer the sprigs to a bottle, then add the oil and seal. Refrigerate up to one month. (Tasty tip: Drizzle over a bowl of popcorn for a special gourmet flair!)

Chili Oil

Combine two cups of olive oil and four teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat for about five minutes. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature, about two hours. Transfer the oil and pepper flakes to a 4-oz. bottle. Seal the lid and refrigerate.

Thyme Oil

Wash 1/2 cup fresh thyme and ensure that it is thoroughly dried. (Any water left in the herbs can promote microbial growth.) Lightly muddle the thyme to release more of the herb’s natural oils and strengthen the infusion. Combine the muddled thyme and one cup of olive oil in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until it steadily bubbles for at least five minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Pour into a clean bottle and refrigerate immediately.

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

Warm one cup of olive oil and the peel from two Meyer lemons over very low heat for 20 minutes. Allow cooling for 30 minutes. Strain and pour into a clean bottle and refrigerate immediately.

 

Ice Cream Float Bar

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Summer is in full swing and what better way to celebrate the season than with a DIY Ice Cream Float Bar? Kids will love the option of creating their own recipes and adults will enjoy the nostalgia of this diner delight. Keep cool with these tips on how to create the perfect ice cream float bar.ICE CREAM BAR FLOATWhile you can’t go wrong with traditional vanilla, mix things up by providing a variety of flavors like mint chocolate chip or strawberry. You can find a number of dairy-free ice creams that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Sneak in an extra serving of fruit by dicing up fruit popsicles as a colorful option. Save time by prepping your ice cream the night before, by pre-scooping and freezing on a cookie sheet. Keep your frozen treats cool by serving the containers on ice.


The Drinks

Along with good old root beer, be sure to offer a variety of sodas for guests to mix and match flavors. To keep things even more interesting, add cold brew coffee, flavored seltzer water, sparkling lemonade and even kombucha to the mix. Be sure to display some adorable patterned straws for an added touch of color.SODA, STRAE AND ICE CREAM


The Toppings

To make your ice cream float bar extra special, you’ll need more than just a cherry on top! Fresh fruit, crushed graham crackers or marshmallows are just a few of our favorite toppings. Stop by our Bulk Department to pick up just enough dried fruits, chocolate or gummi bears to make your guests’ floats even more unique.

CHERRIES, STRAWBERRIES, MARSHMELLOW, CHOCOLATE CHIPS AND COCONUT


The Pairings

Give guests inspiration by creating a chalkboard with different recipes for one-of-a-kind pairings. Don’t know where to start? Here are some recipes that we’re loving.

  • Mint Mocha – 2 scoops mint chocolate chip, cold brew, chocolate sauce drizzle
  • Strawberries & Cream – 2 scoops strawberry, 1 can cream soda, fresh strawberry garnish
  • S’mores 2 scoops chocolate, 1 can root beer, whipped topping, graham cracker crumbs and mini chocolate chips
  • Strawberry Lemonade 1 strawberry popsicle, sparkling lemonade, crushed mint leaves
  • Blueberry Kombucha – 2 scoops vanilla, 1 blueberry kombucha, fresh blueberries

POPSICLES, TALENTI ICE CREAM AND SPROUTS ICE CREAM

Homemade Peanut Butter

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Jar of peanut butterA day without a scoop of peanut butter just isn’t a day we want to have. We schmear it on apples, slather it on celery, and spread it on whole-wheat toast in the morning. We go through jars and jars of this household staple!

It’s often misunderstood as an “unhealthy” food, but natural peanut butter is actually a good source of nutrition—in moderation, of course. Just a tablespoon or two will keep you feeling satisfied while also providing protein and folate.

Not all peanut butter is created equal though. Some processed versions are sugar-laden while others may contain hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. While you can find plenty of natural varieties at Sprouts, we thought it would be helpful to have a homemade version too. This recipe will help you control the salt and sugar, and the roof of your mouth will never know the difference! Best of all, it only takes 15 minutes to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Raw, unsalted peanuts (we buy them from the Bulk Department)
  • 1 tsp. Honey or agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup (heaping) Coconut oil
  • 1 pinch of Sea salt

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it forms a paste.

 

Homemade Gifts in a Jar

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Cookies in a mason jarSome hosts are so easy to shop for: bottle of wine or scented candle. But if you’re trying to stay within a holiday budget or think of a creative gift idea for the person who “has everything”, these gifts are the perfect solution.

Gifts in a jar are festive, heartfelt, easy and delicious. Not to mention, cost effective for you! Simply layer the ingredients in a jar, add a ribbon and tag, and you have a simple but stylish gift.

Soup Mixes

For an easy shortcut to homemade jar gifts, simply visit our Bulk Department and find your favorite soup mix. Pour the mix into a jar and be sure to include cooking instructions on a gift tag.

Baking Mixes

Give the gift of baking by attractively assembling all of the dry ingredients needed for cookies, muffins or brownies in tall glass jars. Use pretty ribbons to tie on the recipe, along with a wooden spoon or whisk for an extra special touch. Friends will be encouraged to easily bake their own treats that come from the heart, not a box!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup White sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Baking soda

Instructions:

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1 slightly beaten egg, 1/2 cup melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir until well mixed. Drop by rounded spoonfuls on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 8–10 minutes. Allow to cool, then enjoy!

Bulk Candy & Nuts

Our Bulk Department is a snack lover’s paradise. Fill a mason jar with an assortment of candy, dried fruit and/or nuts, tie it with some beautiful wired ribbon, and you’re on your way. For the avid hiker on my holiday list, I combined six of my favorite bulk ingredients to make a trail mix that’s full of energy, flavor and texture. You could certainly layer each ingredient separately for a more artistic presentation.

Ingredients:

  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • Dried cranberries
  • Dried cherries

 

Edible Adornments for the Holidays

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apples and apple ciderNow that winter is almost upon us, it’s “root vegetable” season in the Sprouts Produce Department. Things that you may have ignored all year long, like yams, beets, turnips and parsnips, are suddenly much in demand for soups, stews and savory dishes. However, the colorful fruits of fall aren’t quite done yet. In fact they can be used to make some very dramatic displays throughout the holiday season.

Fruity Flounces & Flourishes

As you gussy-up your house for the holidays, there’s no need to go to the craft store. Just head to the Sprouts Produce Department for a one-stop shop! Apples, pomegranates, citrus fruit and pears are easy alternatives to fragile glass and crystal knick-knacks, and best of all, they are eco-friendly and don’t require storage once the festivities have concluded. Simply discard in the trash, or better yet, add them to the compost heap.

Check out these simple ideas for some fresh food frills:

Apple Assignment

Apples are a quick, inexpensive way to add whimsy to your dinner table. Use your very best handwriting or print out names on small name cards. Cut a small slit in the top of the apples and insert the place card. Place a finished apple at each place setting. Alternate red and green apples for a festive color scheme. Try this technique with pears and pomegranates too.

Frosted Fruit

Choose small sturdy fruits that will last, such as small limes, lemons, tangerines, apples and pears. Generously coat each piece with egg wash and shake off the excess. Roll in white granulated sugar and let dry. Arrange the sugared fruit on a decorative cake stand dusted with more sugar for a snowy feel. Add a few pillar candles for added drama. It’s perfect as a centerpiece for your holiday buffet. Use the sugar-and-egg white technique to frost evergreen boughs and pine cones, too.

Crowning Cranberries

Fill clear glass vases of various sizes halfway full with fresh, whole cranberries and place on a mantle or table. For variety, fill clear glass cylinder vases halfway with water and add the berries. Cranberries are buoyant so they will float; add a floating candle for glowing warmth. Cranberries will last up to two weeks in water.

Cinnamon Sensation

Bundle whole cinnamon sticks and secure with a rubber band. Tie a bow using colored, decorative ribbon around the bundle and cover up the band. Leave a loop or insert an ornament hook for easy hanging.

 

Ice Cream Bar Instructions

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Ice Cream BarDIY ice cream bars are a fun and easy answer to entertaining this summer. Not only do they allow friends and family to make their favorite ice cream creations, but a simple ice cream bar is sure to let you enjoy your gathering without the hassle. If you’re trying to escape the heat, host a summer barbecue, or craving a frozen dessert—look no further!

Pick Your Ice Cream

These days there are so many frozen treats to choose from. Whether you’re looking for an ice cream that’s made with organic ingredients, a non-dairy alternative made from coconut or a traditional fresh-churned vanilla, you’re sure to find an ice cream you can enjoy while shopping at Sprouts.

Choose Your Toppings

Bulk:

When it comes to toppings for your ice cream bar, the Sprouts Bulk Department just can’t be beat. We have hundreds of bins and barrels brimming with scoopable goodies. For a decadent ice cream bar, snag a bag of dark chocolate covered blueberries or milk chocolate toffee. If you want to give your guests a taste of traditional sundaes, grab a scoop of roasted peanuts or pecan pieces. See all the choices the Bulk Department has to offer.

Produce:

We promise there’s nothing tastier than fresh produce with your bowl of ice cream. This summer you can find mountains of fresh produce to pair with the perfect frozen creation: sweet peaches, tangy cherries, juicy plums … strawberries, blueberries, blackberries … bananas, pineapples … need we go on?

Grocery:

Every good ice cream bar needs a few special toppings. Browse through our grocery aisles and you’ll find a few goodies you can’t leave without. Here are a few treats to help inspire your DIY ice cream bar.

  • Sprouts Organic Shredded Coconut – Pairs well with banana, dried mangos and macadamia nuts.
  • Sprouts Old-Fashioned Vanilla Wafers – Pairs well with raspberries and glazed pecans.
  • Sprouts Snickerdoodles Pairs well with peaches, caramel sauce and butter toffee peanuts.
  • Sprouts Dark Chocolate Bar with Caramel & Sea Salt – Pairs well with fresh cherries and roasted almonds.

Set the Table:

Now that you have the perfect treats for your ice cream bar, why not snazzy up your table? Stout mason jars can be transformed to make the perfect sundae bowls and small metal pails are ideal containers to hold ice cream bar toppings. No matter your style, and whatever flavors you favor, get creative and enjoy!

 

DIY Baked Goods in a Jar

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Give the gift of baking by attractively assembling all of the dry ingredients needed for cookies, breads or brownies in tall glass jars. Use pretty ribbons to tie on the recipe, along with a wooden spoon or cookie cutter for an extra special touch. Don’t forget to print out and attach the recipe cards to the jar mixes!

Baked Goods

Here are a few tasty suggestions to get you started.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups Coconut flour
  • 2 tsp. Ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. Ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. Ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Solid coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Eggs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, melted coconut oil, brown sugar spices and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold in coconut flour.
  3. Scoop cookie batter onto prepared baking sheet using a small ice cream scoop or 2 teaspoons. Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until golden. Cool completely before removing from the pan.

White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Brown sugar
  • 3 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Dried cranberries
  • 1 cup White chocolate morsels

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a medium pan with parchment paper.
  2. Soak cranberries in bowl with hot water for 3 minutes. Drain water from cranberries.
  3. Cream butter, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture with a wooden spoon or large rubber spatula. Carefully mix in cranberries and white chocolate morsels.
  4. Press mixture evenly into pan and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes and enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking soda
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground cloves
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup Sprouts Canned Pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate chips, optional

Instructions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices and baking powder. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin and water. Stir into dry ingredients until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips if desired.
  2. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350°F for 55–65 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing.

Peppermint Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Cocoa powder
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Crushed peppermint sticks
  • 1 1/4 cups Flour
  • 1 pinch of Salt
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 1/4 cup Boiling water
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, allowing excess paper to overlap the edges.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and sugar; set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the cocoa powder and salt. Add the boiling water and stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is paste-like. Add sugar, vanilla and butter, mix using an electric mixer until smooth. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir in the flour mixture, and mix until combined.
  4. Spoon the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish, batter consistency will be thick. Smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 35 minutes or until the brownies are cooked through. Cool in the pan or a wire rack for 1 hour.