Turmeric paste: where were you before?!?

I love golden milk or turmeric lattes, and I’m all for adding more turmeric and its anti-inflammatory goodness to my life. However, I have to admit that preparing this delicious drink from scratch every day is too much for me. I was about to give up, when I stumbled upon an instand drink I had in my tea shelf. This gave me an idea, and I decided to try to make my own turmeric paste. After all, mixing turmeric powder, spices and coconut oil should work, right?

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Well it does. The result is a thick cream that I keep in my fridge, that is ready to go with a “just add water” quality to it. This is perfect for busy nights as I just use one teaspoon of this golden paste in a teacup of hot water or milk. Instant turmeric latte. Yup.

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This clearcly is the answer to all of you lazy cooks (welcome to my corner!) and busy people who need a little bit of TLC (turmeric loving care) in their life. This recipe makes enough for about 2 weeks of daily turmeric drinks and takes 10 minutes to prepare.

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Cheers to that!

Here is what you need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp of whole black pepper grains
  • 1 quill of true cinnamon
  • 5 tbs coconut oil
  • optional: 1/4 cup of maple syrup or sweetener of choice

Here is what you do:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Mix well. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to keep a soft simmer going. Let sit on the stove for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and transwer your paste to a glass container with an air-tight lid. Keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.
  3. To make your golden milk: Heat up the milk of your choice or water and dissolve 1 tsp of the turmeric paste into it. Enjoy!

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Because this paste has everything to enhance the availability of the turmeric active agents (fat and pepper), it’s full proof! Adding just warm liquid to this makes it so convenient. It really is the best way I have found to make sure that I drink all of that golden magic. Let me know if you try it out!

Simple and Crumbly Pie Crust

It is pie season! Everywhere I turn I see these amazing pies, and they make me want to go home, strap on my checkered apron and bake a thousand different type of pies and then share them with my friendly neighbors. Well, that’s not going to happen anytime soon, especially because I never made anything but apple pie. Yeah…

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But tonight, I thought I would give pies a go after seeing this strawberry pie which really looks amazing. So, here is what I came up with for the crust. The rest of the pie will come tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Here is what you need:

  • 100g coconut oil at room temperature (use deodorized if you don’t want the coconut taste)
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1 tbs chia seeds + 3 tbs water, mixed together to form a ‘chia egg’
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 250g gluten free flour
  • oil for the pan

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the coconut oil and icing sugar until you reach a play-doh consistency. This will take a while, so don’t be afraid to get in there with your wooden spoon!
  2. Once smooth, add the chia egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  3. Place the flour and salt in a sieve and dust over your mixture. Again, mix everything together until you get a crumbly dough that stays together when pressed.
  4. Oil you pie pan. I used my spring form pan.
  5. Press in the crust little bit by little bit. This is not a crust that you want to roll: you want to construct your pie crust little by little. Press with a flat bottom glass to even out.
  6. Place some pie weights or some dry beans on top of your crust to help it stay flat during cooking and place in your oven set at 350F (180C) for 15 minutes. The edges of your crust should be slightly golden.

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This is the perfect crust for fresh fruit pies: crumbly, soft and not overly sweet, it will really let your filling shine. The chia seeds give this crust a nice crunch which is unexpected, but very fun and yummy. I’m planning something special for this one tomorrow so make sure to check in!

Crispy Rice Treats- yes, they’re vegan!

Yesterday, I found some vegan marshmallows at the Ottawa Veg Fest. I was really excited to try them out to make crispy rice treats, a childhood favourite. There is something completely comforting about this desert.

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I basically followed the classic recipe, but the really interesting thing is that the vegan marshmallows are perfect! Directly out of the bag, they have the same airy and bouncy texture as the original deal. Their taste is also the same, except they are maybe a little bit less sweet, which for me is a plus as regular marshmallows make me sick pretty quickly. These marshmallows really have nothing to envy to the traditional marshmallows. I really don’t see why we don’t all switch to vegan marshmallows: they are just delicious!

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As for the crispy rice treats themselves, they were just as I remembered: noisily crispy and oh-so-chewy! I seriously can’t believe how great these marshmallows are! They really are a great addition to any vegan pantry. I can’t wait to experiment with them again! And in case you never made crispy rice squares (or doughnuts) here’s the recipe:

Here is what you need:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 bag vegan marshmallows (280g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 or 6 cups of puffed rice cereal

Here is what you do:

  1. Melt the coconut oil with the marshmallows and vanilla in a sauce pan on medium heat. Stir until combined.
  2. Turn off the heat, and pour in your cereals and mix until evenly coated.
  3. Spread the mixture in a greased pan. Let sit until firm. Cut and enjoy! I used my doughnut pan to make them round, but you can use any pan you have: just make sure it is well greased, because this treat is sticky!

 

Vegan Pecan Sandies Cookies

Tonight I was craving cookies. Of course I ran to our pantry and looked for chocolate chips. Deception, deception: no more chocolate chips. So, I grabbed the next best thing: pecans.

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 3 tbs maple syrup
  • 5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbs pistachio oil (or extra coconut oil)
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  1. In a large pan, toast the pecans on medium heat for 10 minutes. You want them to be slightly toasted and fragrant. Remove from the heat and roughly chop them up.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients with your fingers or a fork. I find that using my hands to mix everything up works really well because it helps the coconut oil soften and bind everything up.
  3. Roll the dough between two parchment paper pieces until it is 5mm thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out around 30 cookies. You might need to re-roll your dough a few times to get all of it cut out.
  4. Spread your cookies on a lined cookie sheet and place in a oven set at 325F for 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool and store them in an air-tight container.

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These cookies are crumbly, not too sweet, full of pecans, soft and very light. They really have that buttery feel that is so typical of sandies and other shortbread cookies. If you like these, you might want to give my coconut shortbread cookies a try too. Both of these are super satisfying and will make you forget that you’re out of chocolate. Yes! Let me know if you try them out!

Coconut Shortbread Cookies

For Christmas, my mom bought a giant box of Walkers’ Scottish shortbread cookies. These cookies, and shortbread in general, are so buttery and deliciously crumbly. I had to try and make a vegan version!

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After perusing the internet to see what the proportion of butter to flour was and thinking about if coconut oil would be a good fit, I decided to try it out.

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I have to say, for a first attempt these are quite scrumptious! and really easy to make too!

Here is what you need:

  • 1/2 coconut oil set at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract (use less if you like)
  • water (1 or 2 tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup of gluten free-flour (my mom gave me a bag of GF flour from Baking Co.)
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)

Here is what you need to do:

  1. In a large bowl, cream the coconut oil using a hand mixer until it is smooth (about one minute).
  2. Add the vanilla extract, sugar, and 1 tbsp of water. Mix until everything is well combined and smooth. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of bowl.
  3. Add the flour and use a spatula to mix it in. Using the spatula helps keeping the coconut oil cool. I find that using your hands warms it too much.
  4. The mix should feel soft and slightly crumbly, but you should be able to gather it in your hands and form a log shape with it. You can add a little bit of water or flour to adjust the consistency.
  5. On a piece of parchment paper, spread the shredded coconut. Put the log on it and roll it in the coconut. Use the parchment paper as you would a sushi mat and even out the log. Wrap the dough in the parchment paper.
  6. Set the log in the fridge for 30 minutes for the dough to hardened.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  8. Cut out the log in 18-20 cookies using a sharp knife.  Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Let the cookies in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn of the oven and let them sit in there for another 10 minutes. Take them out and let them cool.

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These cookies are very soft, have a wonderful coconut flavour, and are just delicious!

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They are completely comparable to the Walkers shortbread! Success!

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DIY easy fragrant face cream!

For the last few weeks, I have been looking for a simple way of making my own face cream. I really loved Kariderm’s protective face cream, but I wanted to make my own with simple ingredients. I also like the idea of making a flexible product that I could adapt to my skin’s needs, the season and my mood.

With colder temperatures, I started using pure coconut oil as a night moisturizer and have been reasonably happy with the results. However, I wanted something more unctuous. I also really liked using Shea butter, and so I wanted to incorporate that.

Shea butter has many amazing benefits for the skin. First, it is a great moisturizer. It also contains a lot of vitamin A, E and D and acts as an anti-inflammatory… and it smells amazing!

As I searched the perfect recipe, I noticed that most DIY face cream recipes used beeswax. From what I know, I understood that this was, first, to make the cream thicker and help the cream set to a solid form at room temperature. Beeswax is also known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Also, this product helps keep the moisture in the skin while still letting it breath. Sounds great!

Another thing I wanted to consider is the fact that I have oily, acne-prone skin. To manage this, I decided to include some essential oils: lavender and rosemary. These two essential oils are easy to find, and also have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that are great against acne. They also smell great together and help relax, which is great as I will use this cream everyday.

Here is a mix I recently put together which combines my need for moisture, and acne fighting properties:

– 2 tablespoons solid organic unrefined coconut oil

– 2 tablespoons solid organic unrefined Shea butter

– 1/2 teaspoon solid beeswax

– 2-5 drops lavender essential oil (as usual with essential oil, don’t put too much or they will burn your skin)

– 2-5 drops rosemary essential oil

– a small glass container with lid.

 

Here is what you need to do:

– In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil and sterilize the container you are going to use to store your cream. You can do so by submerging the container for 5 minutes.

– Empty and dry the container, and put it back in the saucepan (you don’t want any water to get into it however).

– Put all the ingredients except the essential oils in the glass container and mix with a wooden spoon as they start melting.

– When all the ingredients are melted, take the container out of the water and add the essential oils. Mix well.

– Put the lid on and wait for the cream to set. You can put it in the fridge, or just let it out.

The feeling of this cream on my face is simply glorious: the smell is relaxing and sweet, the feeling is moisturizing but not clogging, and the moisturizing effect is great for wintertime. This cream is also quickly absorbed by the skin, which makes it a good day cream.

Give it a try!