Olive oil, although a fat, is one of the “good” fats that has many nutritional benefits (plus…it’s super-tasty)! Adding appropriate amounts of olive oil to your diet may lower your risk of heart disease by lowering your total cholesterol and “bad cholesterol”, as well as helping stabilize insulin levels and regulating blood sugar!
Besides the great health benefits and improved taste in many of your favorite dishes, olive oil has other “non-food” related uses too. These other uses include many things you might not have through of, like home remedies and beauty secrets…BONUS!
#1. Pain Relief from Ear Infections!
Try using some warm (make sure it is not hot) olive oil to help relieve your child’s discomfort when they have an ear infection! Simply place a few drops of oil into the affected ear(s). You can also infuse the olive oil with garlic to increase the anti-bacterial properties!
#2. DIY Home Manicure!
Save some money AND pamper yourself using olive oil! Just follow a few simple steps:
- Once you have removed your polish and filed/shaped your nails, soak your hands in a small bowl of warm water and a few pumps of hand soap (not dish soap).
- Place drops of olive oil in a separate bowl, and use your finger to rub the oil on your cuticles and nails. When you are finished, place the bowl to the side- do not discard the left over oil!
- Lightly push the cuticles back towards the nail bed.
- Using the bowl with the left over oil, add a few dashes of salt and use the mixture as an exfoliant. Wash hands when finished.
- Moisturize with your favorite hand cream or lotion and paint nails using a base coat!
#3. Eye Make-Up Remover!
Keep some olive oil in a small shampoo-type bottle at your vanity- apply some oil to a cotton ball and you have an inexpensive all-natural makeup remover that also doubles as a moisturizer…which leads us to use #4
#4. Skin Moisturizer
Olive oil can be used in place of any daily moisturizer or night cream. Extra virgin olive oil is recommended for this purpose- just apply to damp skin (the water will help avoid any greasy feeling after application)! Try adding lemon juice as well for an added refreshing feeling!
#5. Hair Treatment!
Whether the seasons have taken a toll on your hair, or your conditioner “just decided to stop working”- here is a solution to those problems that you can have at your fingertips without stepping foot in a salon!
- Warm about 1/2 C (may need more or less depending on length of hair) of olive oil in the microwave for approximately 20 seconds.
- Gently massage into hair until all hair is covered with oil.
- Cover head with a shower cap or plastic bag with a clip and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Shampoo and condition as usual- notice how your hair is now healthier and shinier!
#6. Dandruff Treatment!
If the winter weather is leaving your scalp dry and itchy, the simple addition of olive oil to your regular routine may be just what you need!
- Warm olive oil before application.
- Massage warm oil evenly to scalp after wetting hair.
- Allow oil to remain on scalp for up to 30 minutes.
- Shampoo and condition as usual.
- Avoid blow drying immediately after rinsing.
#7. Treatment for Lice!
There is nothing fun about a having a head-lice outbreak in your home…but it happens! Did you know that you can use olive oil as an effective, all-natural treatment? Covering the adult lice with the oil and cutting off their oxygen supply (by placing a plastic bag around the hair for 2-3 hours after oil is applied), will effectively suffocate the lice. After the treatment, shampoo and condition normally. You may want to repeat shampoo if hair remains greasy. Note: This treatment does not always work on the eggs or nits- try vinegar if nits remain once the oil is rinsed out!
#8. Cradle Cap Treatment!
Cradle cap is common in infants- the good news is it doesn’t bother them at all…but it looks like it should! To help moisturize your baby’s scalp and get rid of unsightly scaly skin, try gently massaging olive oil on the affected areas with your finger. Once the scalp is moist, gently rub the areas with a soft toothbrush to loosen the dead skin. Immediately wash oil off scalp once finish to avoid rashes.
#9. As a Dip for Bread!
Moving on to some tasty recipes… olive oil can be used as a very tasty appetizer when used as dip for fresh crusty bread! Just pour a small amount of oil into a salad plate. Add your favorite seasonings and spices such as sea salt, peppercorn, oregano, garlic, chili, etc. and start dipping!
#10. Basil Pesto!
Pesto is a great condiment that can go with anything from veggies to meat…and best of all, it is easy to make! And basic is very easy to grow in your backyard! I have a black thumb for growing things, but I haven’t been able to kill my basil yet. :)
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 TBS pine nuts
- 3 C loosely packed basil leaves
- ½ C extra virgin olive oil
- ½ C parmesan cheese
- Place garlic, salt and pine nuts in a blender. Chop until evenly blended.
- Add basil and olive oil to blender. Mix until smooth.
- Add cheese and blend until combined.
#11. Olive Oil Cake!
Did you know that you can use olive oil as a fat replacement for cake?
- 1 Tbs Butter
- 3 C + 2 Tbs Flour
- 4 Eggs
- 1 C Sugar
- ¼ Tsp Lemon Zest
- ¾ C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ⅔ C Milk
- 3 Tbs Grand Marnier
- 1 Tbs Baking Powder
- Preheat oven to 325
- Grease an 11 C bundt pan with butter and dust with flour
- Beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer on medium high until pale yellow
- Add the rest of the flour, lemon zest, oil, milk and Grand Marnier to mixture and combine with a wooden spoon
- Add baking powder and stir until combined
- Spoon batter into pan and smooth top with the back of a spoon
- Bake until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (approx 40 min)
- Allow cake to cook in pan on a wire rack
Getting tired of the same old veggie dishes? Try roasting your favorites with olive oil for a delicious and healthy new twist! Just place your choice of vegetables in a bowl and mix them with olive oil and your favorite spices until coated. Spread out the veggies on a roasting pan and roast at high heat (around 450 degrees) for approximately 40 minutes (flip veggies half-way through).
Using olive oil as a main ingredient in salad dressing is not new news…but a lot of times I totally forget that I can easily throw together a delicious and healthy dressing with just a few ingredients I already have! Here is a super-easy one: add olive oil and lemon juice in a 1:2 ratio, add garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Done!
If you are a garlic lover, you MUST try your own roasted garlic! It comes out with a buttery consistency and is fabulous on bread, veggies, and well, almost everything!!
- Heads of garlic
- Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Peel away papery outer skin of garlic cloves while leaving the skin of the individual cloves on
- Cut off top ¼ inch of the garlic head, exposing tops of garlic cloves
- Place cloves in a muffin tin
- Drizzle 2 Tsp olive oil on each head, spread oil over tops with back of a spoon
- Cover tops of each head with aluminum foil
- Bake for 35 minutes, garlic should feel soft when pressed
- Allow garlic to cool
- Squeeze soft, spreadable garlic out of each clove
Have you ever stared at the gorgeous bottles of infused olive oils at gourmet food stores and wished they were more reasonably priced? You can make your own at home- find some pretty glass bottles and make your own labels for wonderful gifts!
- 6 Leaves fresh basil
- 2 Sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 Sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 Sprigs fresh oregano
- 1½ C Extra virgin olive oil
- Set herbs out in advance in order to dry them
- Place dry herbs in a 12 oz bottle
- Funnel oil into bottle
- Cover tightly and refrigerate
- ***Using dry herbs are recommended when you are not planning on consuming oil within 2-3 days
This is the perfect snack…and you can easily adapt the recipe with different ingredients that you like!
- ¾ C Maple syrup
- ½ C Extra virgin olive oil
- ½ C Packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tsp Kosher salt
- ½ Tsp Ground cinnamon
- ½ Tsp Ground cardamom
- ¾ C Chopped dried apricots
- 1½ C Raw pistachios
- 1 C Raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 C Coconut chips
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees
- Combine all ingredients EXCEPT apricots (or any fruit you choose) in a large bowl
- Spread mixture evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes
- Transfer granola to bowl and add apricots or other desired dried fruit
How about using olive oil in a homemade bread recipe? You can use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, just add a couple of tablespoons of Wheat Gluten so that it will rise correctly.
- ½ C Warm water
- 2¼ Tsp Active dry yeast
- 1 Tsp White sugar
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 4 Tbs Olive oil
- 2½ C All-purpose flour
- Mix all ingredients except for flour in a large bowl
- Stir in 2 C flour and make a ball out of the dough
- Knead in additional flour
- Place kneaded dough in a medium sized greased bowl
- Cover and let sit until dough has doubled in size
- Punch dough and form into loaf shape
- Place on greased baking sheet
- Cover and let rise for 20 more minutes
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown
Wow. If you are a fan of canning and looking for some creative canning recipes for the winter months…this one from Love & Olive Oil looks incredible: Roasted Garlic Jelly (and yes, it calls for olive oil)!
It is such a difference to taste real olive oil in mayonnaise. Here is a great olive oil mayo recipe from The Clothes Make the Girl! You can easily make this at home to add a great new taste to your sandwiches, dips and pasta salads!
I figured we would end with a pretty creative recipe idea…Homemade Olive Tampenade Pizza created by Lisa from Lisa’s Kitchen! This is a vegetarian pizza recipe with homemade olive tampenade, cheeses and fresh herbs that even a meat lover will devour!
What are your favorite ways to use olive oil?
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