Coconut and Vanilla Body Scrub- skincare safe enough to eat!

Packaged up for giving

Packaged up for giving

There’s something about giving handmade gifts at Christmas. Especially when the kids can get involved in the making and proudly tell the receiver “I made that for you”.

This gorgeous body scrub fills my love of giving handmade presents while adhering to my desire for chemical-free, safe cosmetics. No artificial fragrances, phthalates or chemical compounds in this little beauty. Use it on dry skin in the shower before turning on the taps.

A great exfoliant that leaves the skin lovely and soft and nicely moisturised from the coconut oil.

 

What you’ll need:

2 cups sugar (I used a mix of rapadura and golden granulated sugar)

1/2 cup virgin coconut oil

1 vanilla pod (a fairly dry one)

1 tablespoon raw honey

1 tsp vanilla extract (My recipe for this here)

 

Making it:

In a food processor or spice grinder, process your vanilla pod until you get a fine powder.

Mix the sugar, vanilla powder and extract, coconut oil, and honey in a bowl. Stir through until nicely mixed.

Spoon into your favourite little recycled jars (clean and dry of course).

Like the kids stamping on the tags? A few lapses in concentration with letter placement but I think it adds to the character of them.

 

Bittersweet chocolate tart with vanilla poached pears

 

Bitter Choc Tart 1

Bitter Chocolate Tart

 

A confession- I love making desserts more than I enjoy eating them. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the eating either but I love it when an idea comes to life and you can make something delicious to share with friends.

I made a chocolate mousse tart recently for our remedial massage therapists birthday. Adorned with berries and crystallised ginger it went down a treat over lunch one busy Friday. A little hard to serve being a mousse filling but delicious all the same. A few requests for the recipe meant I needed to have a go at remaking it and write it down second time around. I decided this time to try adding a little grass fed gelatin (I buy it here) to see if the filling held a little better and used an 85% chocolate round two for a more bitter sweet effect. The result? A bitter chocolate tart- a denser tart texture rather than a mousse but it held beautifully on cutting.

So without further ado- the recipe:

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Peppermint choc chip ice cream (Vegan)

DSC_0024Peppermint choc chip- my all time favourite ice cream (well, in equal first position with boysenberry anyway). Seems my little man takes after me requesting a peppermint choc chip ice cream cake for his 6th birthday. I normally use this delectable recipe from Isaac Mizrahi, making a lower-casein version of the custard with real cream from grass fed cows, and raw goats milk. I use hopper natural food colouring or spinach juice if it’s not green enough and depending how minty the fresh mint was I have been known to add some peppermint essential oil. So this is what I made for his birthday this year.

However we had a few extra intolerances to be mindful of this year, dairy eggs and sugar to name a few. So I needed to create something special they could have as well. I didn’t want any gorgeous people missing out so came up with a great alternative- an avocado based version. No eggs, dairy or sugar, yay!

A little more straight forward that making custard, chilling, churning in the ice cream maker and refreezing too- bonus!

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Chickpea crackers- Gluten, grain, dairy and egg free

My Black sesame and chive variety

My Black sesame and chive variety

I needed a gluten and dairy free cracker to serve at a birthday party. Due to the eclectic nature of our friends food sensitivities it also needed to be free from rice, corn, soy, sugar and egg. Thank goodness for chickpea flour (also known as Besan). So, a simple cracker recipe for you to try out yourself. Being nut and egg free it’s suitable for the majority of school lunchboxes too.

The base:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (optional but will make them a little higher and lighter)

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Garlic- are you treating it right?

You may know garlic is a great anti-microbial, perhaps you also know its anti-cancer, antioxidant, blood pressure lowering, anti-blood coagulating and lipid lowering?

Maybe you’re already adding it to your cooking, saturating your winter fare with it’s medicinal properties or even going the extra mile and eating it raw for best effect?

WHAT! You have to eat it RAW?!!??

garlic 2

Freshly chopped garlic, sitting, intensifying, ready to cook

We used to think so- at college we were taught that allicin (the biologically active ingredient) is very susceptible to temperature and breaks down after a period of time (meaning the convenient jars of prepared chopped garlic were helpful for flavour but had no medicinal effect). Therefore for worming, bacterial infections, help with coughs and colds and for all the reasons above we recommended it be consumed raw. Hmmmm. Easy for some, for others with less of a garlic tolerance shall we say this normally threw up some road blocks in getting them to eat their medicine.

Fortunately research has now shown that when garlic is chopped or crushed and left to sit for 10mins Allicin develops and then isn’t destroyed by heating. Doing this means the beneficial properties remain even after cooking!

You are still more than welcome to eat your garlic raw if you like it, whizz it up raw in your pesto, and Baba ghanoush but you don’t HAVE to anymore. For those to whom this is good news- you’re welcome.

 

My digestive Chai- a caffeine-free delight

I love Chai! The natural sweetness, the comforting warm hug, the digestive spices- oh my!

Traditionally chai is made by simmering black tea, spices, water and milk to produce the above described heavenly beverage. I must say I really enjoy it done this way. It can be made with a range of spices in varying amounts, and in Ayurvedic medicine the spices used were determined by the persons need. I like my chai to be a bit medicinal too- so I up the spice ratios and go for the warming digestive spices of cardamon, ginger, cinnamon and pepper.

Masala chai

At night however when I’m looking to wind down and don’t need the caffeine, it’s nice to have this little non-traditional, caffeine-free version around to whip up as the desire for chai takes hold. This also makes it suitable for those who don’t cope with caffeine well or for when you just need to give your adrenal glands a rest!

Below I share with you my current favourite blend (subjective to change on a whim or when I’m running low on a particular spice of course).

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Kale- a superfood or superhype? (Plus a recipe for kale chips, or Monster chips to us)

Kale- it seems to be a bit of a love it or hate it vegetable, especially when you discuss it’s health merits.

It’s a superfood of the moment and in the health circle people cant seem to get enough of it. It’s juiced, liquified into smoothies, shredded into salads, sauteed, stewed and swimming in soups. Here’s my two cents worth to put a little perspective on it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAImage credit: eatmoveinspire

It’s goodness:

* Good source of the antioxidants: beta-carotene, vitamins C and E and flavanoids

* Rich in naturally occurring glucosinolates, which help in the fight against cancer.

* Has the most vitamin K of all the green leafy veg

* Contains the minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, potassium and phosphorus

A little side note: you need to have some fat with your kale for maximum vitamin A and K absorption as these are fat soluble vitamins. So consuming it in a vege juice isn’t going to cut it.

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