Coconut yogurt: this time it worked!

I have been trying out different ways to make vegan yogurt, but so far all of my attempts have failed horribly. There is nothing fun about waking up to a weird and pungeant smell and realizing that it is the soy yogurt experiment that has gone wrong… really wrong!

coconut-yogurt

Last week however, I realized that I had some boxes of coconut milk in my pantry and that they were about to go bad. I decided that this was the perfect excuse to try making vegan yogurt again.

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Now, my budget this summer is pretty tight, so there was no way I was going to spend 50$ (and maybe more) on probiotic pills. I know that these little pills would mean that I would be able to make hundreds of batches of vegan yogurt, but no. I went to my trusted local health food store, and realized that they didn’t even have those pills. So, double no. They did have already made coconut yougurt however. After checking the ingredients and seeing the “live cultures” listed as part of the ingredients, I decided that I could spare this 6$ for my experiment.

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The process of making yogurt is fairly simple. You mix live cultures with your milk, stir everything well, let this sit overnight in a warm place, move everything to the fridge, and voila! I used to love making goat’s milk yogurt and kefir before going vegan, so my hopes were up on this coconut yogurt.

Here is what I used:

  • 1L coconut milk
  • 350g plain store-bought coconut yogurt (I used the one from Silk)

Here is what I did:

  1. In a large container, I mixed the coconut milk and the yogurt with a wisk until everything was homogenous.
  2. I covered the top of my container with a paper towel tied with a rubber band and placed it in my oven (with the light turned on).
  3. 12 hours later I moved the container to the fridge and let the yogurt set for 8 more hours.

The result? Well, you have two options here. The fattier part of the coconut milk yogurt will gatter to the top of your container and give you this incredibly thick and rich yogurt. The bottom part will be more liquid and perfect to add to smoothies. The first option is to keep these two phases separate and to enjoy the great diversity that this recipe gives you. The second option is to take out your trusty wisk and to wisk everything together. The result will be a smooth drinkable yogurt that is perfect for parfaits and smoothies. I have to say I did both and can’t believe how thick and creamy the top layer is.

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The taste of this yogurt is tangy with the slightest coconut aftertaste. It really is super smooth and so delicious. Now, for the next batch, just remember to keep 1 cup of already made yogurt that you will use as a starter. Infinite vegan yogurt, here we come!

DIY Gift #4: Lip Balms and Salves \\\ Cadeau-Maison #4: Baumes à lèvres et Onguents

(Version française plus bas!)

I love lip balms! I have a different on in all my coats and bags and a few are lounging on my desk and nightstand. I recently discovered salves, and I’m afraid they are on the same road as my lip balms: they will soon take over my living space!

A few years ago, I tried making my own lip balms, but they turned out to be horrible: granular and super hard, I threw them out eventually because they were just not usable. The idea of making my own was still in the back of my head, and so I was super excited to attend a balm and salve workshop recently. And guess what? I can now make my very own balms AND salves, and they are perfect!

balms-salves

So, in the spirit of Christmas, I set out to make many little pots of moisturizing goodness that will help my family and friends go through winter. These are very easy to make and super quick too, so these make great last minute gifts.

Recipe #1: Lavender Salve: For the cook or craft person in your life.

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This salve is very moisturizing and helps with burns or minor cuts as lavender helps regenerate the skin and makes the healing process go a little bit faster. It’s also great for bug bites and general skin irritations.

Here is what you need:

  • 1 tsp candelilla wax (I used this wax because it is a plant-based alternative to beeswax)
  • 1/4 cup oil (you can use any oil of your choice, as long as it is liquid at room temperature. I like to use olive or avocado oils because they are very moisturizing.)
  • 10 drops of lavender essential oil

Recipe #2: Mint Lip Balm: For everyone in your life

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I love this lip balm because it is refreshing and so moisturizing. It is not overly oily and leaves the lips soft and shiny.

Here is what you need:

  • 1 tsp candelilla wax
  • 1.5 tbs shea butter
  • 1.5 tbs oil (again use a high quality oil you like. I really like avocado oil for lip balms because it is rich and quickly absorbed by the skin)
  • 10 drops of peppermint essential oil

Recipe #3: Lemon body balm: For the itching person in your life

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Because the cold makes my entire body itch, I made this salve that makes me smells delicious! I like to use it in the morning because lemon is energizing and wakes me up. This body balm is also great for really dry spots like elbows and heels.

Here is what you need:

  • 1 tsp candelilla wax
  • 1.5 tbs cacao butter
  • 1.5 tbs shea butter
  • 4-6 tbs oil (I used olive oil. The more oil you’ll use, the softer your balm it will be.)
  • 10 drops of lemon essential oil

Here is what you do for all three recipes:

  1. In a small saucepan, melt the wax and butters on low heat.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the oil. The wax will solidify again. Place on low heat and stir until everything is melted again.
  3. In a clean container, add the essential oil and pour the oil mixture on top. Quickly close your container and let sit in the fridge to set. That’s it!

As you can see, it is fairly simple to prepare really moisturizing balms and salves in your kitchen. Little troubleshooting tip: if your final product is too hard, you can always melt it again with some extra oil. If your final product is too soft, melt it again with some extra wax. I really love these three recipes, and they are quickly becoming favourites in my house. They keep for a long time, and you’ll know they are not good to use anymore because they will smell funky. Trust me, you will know. Let me know if you have your own recipes for balms and salves!

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J’adore les baumes à lèvres. Une de mes choses préférées de l’hiver, c’est de sortir mon manteau et de redécouvrir le baume que j’y ai laissé l’hiver précédent. J’en ai qui traine un peu partout dans mes manteaux et dans mes sacs, et également sur mon bureau et ma table de nuit. J’ai également découverts les onguents il n’y a pas très longtemps, et ils sont en voie d’envahir mon espace aussi rapidement que les baumes à lèvres!

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Il y a quelques années, j’ai essayé de faire mes propres baumes à lèvres à la maison, mais ils se sont avérés être inutilisables: durs et granuleux, ils ont finalement atterris dans la poubelle à ma plus grande déception. J’avais cependant gardé cette idée en tête et j’étais donc super excitée de participer à un atelier de fabrication de baumes à lèvres et d’onguents il y a quelques semaines. Et bien, je peux maintenant me faire mes propres baumes et c’est vraiment très chouette!

Donc, pour Noël, j’ai également préparé des petits pots d’hydratation pour mes proches. J’espère que cela les aidera à passer au travers de l’hiver. En tout cas, ça fait de cadeaux sympas de dernière minute.

Recette #1: Onguent à la lavande: pour les chefs cuisiniers et artisans de votre vie.

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Cet onguent est vraiment très hydratant, mais surtout cicatrisant grâce à la lavande. J’aime l’utiliser en cas de brûlure ou de petites coupures car cela aide la peau à se régénérer. Il est également très efficace pour les piqûres d’insectes.

Voici ce dont vous aurez besoin:

  • 1 c. à café de cire de candelilla (j’utilise cette cire car c’est une très bonne alternative végane à la cire d’abeille)
  • 1/4 tasse d’huile (vous pouvez utiliser l’huile de votre choix, du moment qu’elle soit liquide à température ambiante pour avoir un baume d’une bonne consistance. J’utilise généralement de l’huile d’olive ou d’avocat car elles sont vraiment très hydratantes)
  • 10 gouttes d’huile essentielle de lavande

Recette #2: Baume à lèvres à la menthe poivrée: Pour tout le monde sur votre liste

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J’adore ce baume à lèvres car il est rafraichissant et tellement hydratant! Il n’est pas trop gras et laisse les lèvres douces et légèrement brillantes.

Voici ce dont vous aurez besoin:

  • 1 c. à café de cire de candelilla
  • 1.5 c. à soupe de beurre de karité
  • 1.5 c. à soupe d’huile (encore une fois, utilisez une huile de bonne qualité que vous appréciez. J’aime utiliser de l’huile d’avocat pour les baumes à lèvres car elle est très hydratante et rapidement absorbée par la peau.)
  • 10 gouttes d’huile essentielle de menthe poivrée

Recette #3: Baume pour le corps au citron: Pour la personne qui à la peau sèche

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Parce que le froid rend la totalité de ma peau sèche, je me suis fabriqué se baume qui sent incroyablement bon et qui est également vraiment très hydratant. Je l’aime vraiment beaucoup car il rend ma peau confortable tout en étant rapidement absorbé. Ce baume est également très efficace pour les parties les plus sèches comme les coudes et les talons.

Voici ce dont vous aurez besoin :

  • 1 c. à thé de cire de candelilla
  • 1.5 c. à soupe de beurre de cacao
  • 1.5 c. à soupe de beurre de karité
  • 4-6 c. à soupe d’huile (j’ai utilisé de l’huile d’olive. Plus vous ajouterez d’huile, plus votre baume sera mou)
  • 10 gouttes d’huile essentielle de citron

Voici ce qu’il faut faire pour les 3 recettes:

  1. Dans une petite casserole, faites fondre la cire et les beurres sur feu très doux.
  2. Retirez du feu et ajoutez l’huile. La cire se solidifiera. Remettre sur feu très doux et mélanger doucement jusqu’à ce que tout soit de nouveau liquide.
  3. Dans un contenant bien propre, ajoutez l’huile essentielle. Versez le mélange de cire dans le contenant et le refermer rapidement. Laissez refroidir au frigo pour 20 minutes ou sur votre comptoir jusqu’à ce que tout soit bien pris. Et c’est tout!

Comme vous pouvez le constater, il est vraiment simple de se préparer des baumes et des onguents à la maison. Quelques petits trucs: si votre produit final est trop dur, refaire fondre le tout et ajouter de l’huile. Si c’est trop mou, refaire fondre et ajouter un peu de cire! J’aime vraiment ces trois recettes et elles sont rapidement devenues des indispensables chez nous. Elles se conservent assez longtemps, mais vous saurez qu’il est temps d’en repréparer lorsque les baumes sentent bizarres. C’est difficile de se tromper. Dites-moi si vous les essayez ou si vous avez vos propres recettes préférées!

 

 

DIY Gift #3 Bath Bombs! \\\ Cadeau-Maison #3: Bombe pour le bain!

 

(Version française plus bas!)

To continue with the wellness gifts, I made some bath bombs for my family! My boyfriend really loves Lush bath bombs, and so I thought I would try and make him some. Well, they were fairly easy to make and a lot cheaper than buying them! I have to admit, I got tired of using the bomb molds I got for this, and so I just filled up little jars with the powder. I think this will make a fun addition to our bathroom. I’m calling these “effervescent bath salts”. Very fancy, I know!

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Again, I used some essential oils to perfume these. I stuck with my favourites, which I also used for the bath salts I made. Lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint and lemon are great in baths. Of course, you can personalise the bath bombs by using essential oils that you like.

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To colour them, I used some food coloring because it was really cheap, and I have to say it worked really well! Of course, this is completely optional, but I thought they made everything look a little bit more fun and festive. Plus, it doesn’t stain bathtubs, so that’s a plus. Alright, let’s start!

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Here is what you need for one big bath bomb:

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup citric acid
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup epsom salt
  • 3 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbs water
  • 10-20 drops of essential oils
  • 4- 6 drops of food coloring

To prepare: gloves

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients with a whisk.
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix the wet ingredients.
  3. Start whisking the dry ingredients and slowly add the wet ingredients while you continue to whisk. Make sure not to add too much at once to avoid activating the citric acid. The final mix should be wet enough for it to stick together when you grab some in your hand.
  4. If you are using molds, press some of the mix in tightly and let it sit for 20 minutes before unmolding. If you are going for the easier option, just put about 1/2 cup of the mix in a jar. You could use a bigger jar and layer different colors too!

That’s it! Super simple and fairly quick to make, I really love how effervescent these are! They also smell incredibly good! Because there is some oil in them, they are also very hydrating. It also means that you might have to rinse out your tub after having a bath with these.

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If you are wondering where to buy the supplies to make these, I found mine at Coop Coco in Montreal, but you can easily find them online.

Let me know if you try them out!


Pour continuer avec les cadeaux faits maison et de bien-être, quoi de mieux que des bombes pour le bain! Mon copain adore les bombes pour le bain de Lush, alors je me suis dit qu’il serait amusant d’essayer de lui en faire. Elles étaient vraiment simples et rapides à préparer, mais surtout, beaucoup moins chères que celles de Lush! Bon, je dois admettre que je me suis rapidement fatiguée d’utiliser les moules ronds. J’ai donc commencé à mettre le mélange dans des pots pour faire des sels de bain effervescents. Ça sonne bien, non?

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Encore une fois, j’ai utilisé des huiles essentielles pour parfumer ces petits trésors. J’ai utilisé mes préférées: lavande, eucalyptus, menthe poivrée et citron! J’avais également utilisé ces huiles essentielles pour les sels pour le bain. Bien sûr, vous pouvez utiliser vos odeurs préférées!

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Pour les rendre plus festives et amusantes, j’ai utilisé des colorants alimentaires pour les colorer. C’était une alternative facile et peu dispendieuse. En plus, ça ne tache pas les baignoires! C’est bien sûr complètement optionel. Bon, on commence!

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Voici ce dont vous aurez besoin pour faire une grosse boule pour le bain:

  • 1/2 tasse de bicarbonate de soude
  • 1/4 tasse d’acide citrique
  • 1/4 tasse de fécule de maïs
  • 1/4 tasse de sels d’epsom
  • 3 c. à thé d’huile de coco, liquide
  • 1 c. à table d’eau
  • 10-20 gouttes d’huile essentielle
  • 4- 6 gouttes de colorant alimentaire

Pour préparer: des gants!

Voici ce qu’il faut faire:

  1. Dans un grand bol, mélanger tout les ingrédients secs à l’aide d’un fouet à main.
  2. Dans un plus petit bol, mélanger les ingrédients liquides.
  3. Commencer à mélanger les ingrédients secs avec le fouet et ajouter les ingrédients liquides petit à petit tout en continuant de mélanger le tout. Allez-y lentement pour éviter de trop activer l’acide citrique. Le mélange final devrait se tenir lorsque vous le pressez.
  4. Si vous utilisez des moules, pressez le mélange dans le moule et laissez reposer 20 minutes avant de démouler. Si vous préférez une option plus simple, mettre environs 1/2 tasse du mélange dans des petits pots. Il serait également très joli d’étager differentes couleurs dans une belle bouteille.

Voilà! C’est vraiment simple et facile, et j’adore à quel point elles sont effervescentes! Et elles sentent vraiment super bon! Parce qu’elles contiennent de l’huile, elles sont également très hydratantes. Il sera également important de rincer votre baignoire après les avoir utilisées.

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Si vous vous demandez où acheter les ingrédients pour ces bombes pour le bain, je me les suis procurées à Coop Coco à Montréal, mais il est également facile de les commander en ligne.

Dites-moi si vous en faites!

DIY Gifts #2: Mala Bracelet \\\ Cadeau-Maison #2: Bracelet Mala

(Version en français plus bas!)

Mala beads are really pretty and such helpful tools when working with mantras in your yoga practice or meditation routine. The only thing is that they are really expensive! However, the other day, at the art supplies store, I stumbled upon really beautiful marble beads. I fell in love with them, and they were in my price range at 10$ for 12 beads, so I bought two strands. Well, I made a really fun and nice looking mala bracelet with them, and I think these would make a really thoughtful gift for any yogi in your life.

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The process is fairly simple and does not require a lot of material. Plus, you can really personalize this to fit with your personal preferences and what you find in your area. The possibilities are endless!

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I kept this mala quite simple, but of course, you can find charms or tassels to  add to it to give it a different look. I made mine into a bracelet so that it would be more portable and cheaper, but you could also go full pledge and work on a 108-bead mala.

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Here is what you need:

  • 21 beads of your choice
  • solid thread that fits your beads (I used some bamboo cord, but hemp cord is also very strong)
  • A candle
  • scissors

Here is what you do:

  1. Cut the tip of the cord diagonally so that it is easy to thread the beads. Don’t cut the thread out (this means you don’t need to measure anything and you’ll be sure to have enough thread for your entire bracelet).
  2. Thread 18  beads and tie a knot after the last bead, leaving a 10cm tail.
  3. Tie a knot between each bead as close to the bead as possible. You can use a needle or a skewer to help you set the knot where you want it to be. Here is a helpful video.
  4. Cut the thread 10cm after the last knot.
  5. Pass both tails through 1 bead and tie several knots after this one: it is your marker.
  6. Thread one bead on each tail and tie knots after these. Cut the threads close.
  7. Lit your candle until there is a nice pool of wax. Blow it off and dip the two knots in the wax two or three times until they are well coated. This will help solidify your knots and prevent them from getting untied. That’s it! You’re done!

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I hope these instructions are clear, but I think looking at the pictures will help you a lot! Also, feel free to personalize the end of your mala to your liking. Placed in a pretty box, this bracelet will make the perfect gift and takes no more than 30 minutes to put together! Another perfect solution for last minute Santas.


Les bracelets mala ou les chapelets sont vraiment jolis, mais sont aussi des outils de pratique très utile pour le yoga ou la méditation. Le hic, c’est qu’ils sont souvent très chers ou très kitsch! C’est pour ça que lorsque je suis tombée sur des jolies perles en marbre à 12 pour 10$, je me suis dit, pourquoi pas! Une fois enfilées, elles forment un très joli mala, qui sera parfait à offrir pour le yogi de votre vie.

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Il est assez simple de faire un mala, et cela ne nécessite pas beaucoup de materiel. En plus, il est aussi facile de les personaliser selon vos envies ou vos préférences. Les possibilités sont infinies!

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J’ai gardé ce mala assez simple, mais il est bien sur possible d’ajouter des breloques ou des perles spéciales. J’ai également travaillé avec 21 perles pour faire un bracelet et un mala plus facilement portable, mais vous pouvez voir grand et en faire un à 108 perles.

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Voici ce dont vous aurez besoin:

  • 21 perles de votre choix
  • une corde ou du fil solide qui est à la bonne taille pour vos perles (j’ai utilisé de la carde de bambou, mais la corde de chanvre est aussi très résistante)
  • Une bougie
  • Des ciseaux

Voici ce qu’il faut faire:

  1. Couper le  bout de la corde en biseau pour faciliter le passage des perles. Ne coupez pas la corde de la bobine (cela vous permettra de ne pas avoir à mesurer quoi que ce soit et de ne pas manquer de corde).
  2. Enfiler 18 perles et faire un noeud aprés la dernière perle enfilée en laissant 10 cm après le noeud.
  3. Faire un noeud entre chaque perle le plus près possible de chaque perle à l’aide d’une aiguille ou d’un cure-dent. Voici un video qui peut vous donner un coup de main.
  4. Couper la corde 10 cm après le dernier noeud.
  5. Passer les deux bout de corde dans une perle et faire une série de noeud après cette perle. Ce sera votre marqueur.
  6. Passer une perle dans chaque bout the corde et faire des noeuds après celles-ci. Couper la corde après ces noeuds.
  7. Allumez votre bougie et laissez-la brûler jusqu’à ce que vous ayez de la cire fondue. Éteindre la bougie et tremper les noeuds finaux dans la cire pour les “bloquer” et les empêcher de se defaire. Voilà! C’est fini!

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J’espère que ces instructions sont claires, mais je pense que les photos peuvent vous aider un peu. N’hésitez pas à personaliser votre mala pour qu’il soit unique et à votre goût! Placé dans une jolie boîte, je pense que ce mala fera un très beau cadeau qui ne vous aura pas pris plus de 30 minutes à fabriquer! Encore un cadeau parfait pour les Pères Noël retardataires!

DIY Gifts #1: Bath Salts \\\ Cadeau-maison #1: Sels de bain

(version française plus bas!)

If you want to go DIY this year, I have some great “recipes” for some wonderfully relaxing and pampering products that will please anyone on your list. Today, the easiest recipe of all: bath salts.

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Bath salts are a great way to make any bath more relaxing and luxurious. They are so simple to make, and you can customize them to serve different purposes. I prepared three mixes: one to invigorate sore muscles, one to relax and get ready to sleep, and the last one to help you breathe when you have a cold.

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To make my bath salts, I used Epsom salts and essential oils. Epsom salts are a great addition to all bathrooms. Very rich in magnesium, that is easily absorbed through the skin, these salts are great to relax muscles, to relieve headaches and PMS, and to give your immune system a boost. These salts are also very easy to find in any drugstore and are super cheap. You really have no excuse not to have some next to your bathtub!

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For the essential oils, make sure to use some that are not irritating to the skin. I kept everything fairly traditional with some lavender, eucalyptus, verbena, and rosemary. You can also add some fresh or dried herbs to your mixes, if you don’t mind rinsing off the bathtub after your bath. Personally, that’s the last thing I want to do after a relaxing bath, so I skipped it.

Here is what you need:

  • 2 cups of Epsom salts
  • Mix 1: Invigorating Bath Salts: 10-20 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • Mix 2: Relaxing Bath Salts: 10-20 drops of lavender essential oil + 5 drops of verbena essential oil
  • Mix 3: Breathe again: 10-20 drops of lavender essential oil + 10-20 drops of peppermint essential oil + 10-20 eucalyptus essential oil

Here is what you do:

  1. Mix all your ingredients in a large glass or metal bowl. Add the essential oils gradually and stop when it is fragrant, but not to intense.
  2. Place in your selected container, make a cute label and enjoy!
  3. In your bath, add about 1/2 cup or 3-4 tbs of salt to your warm bath.

I love these bath salts because they are super quick to prepare and make for great gifts. They are also great last minute gifts! I really encourage you to explore essential oils to find mixes that best suit your needs. Pamper yourself!


Pour tous les amoureux du DIY, j’ai quelques “recettes” parfaites pour des cadeaux de Noël simples, mais si agréables à utiliser et à donner! Tous les petits crapauds de vos listes seront heureux, relaxés et parfumés. Aujourd’hui, la plus simple de toutes les recettes: les sels pour le bain.

bath_salts

Les sels de bain sont un moyen simple de rendre n’importe quel bain plus luxieux et plus relaxant. En plus, ils sont super simples à préparer, et vous pouvez les personnaliser selon vos envies et vos besoins! J’ai préparé 3 mélanges: un revigorant, un relaxant pour bien dormir et un dernier pour vous aidez à respirer lorsque vous êtes enrhubés…

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Pour faire mes sels de bains, j’utilise des sels d’Epsom et des huiles essentielles. J’aime les sels d’Epsom car ils sont très riches en magnésium, qui est facilement absorbé par la peau, ce qui aide à détendre les muscles, à faire disparaître les maux de têtes et les SPM, et donne un petit coup de pouce au système immunitaire. Finalement, comme ils sont faciles à trouver dans toutes les pharmacies et très peu chers, ils sont indispensables à toutes les salles de bain!

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Pour les huiles essentielles, faites attention de n’utiliser que des huiles non-irritantes pour la peau. J’ai gardé mes mélanges assez traditionnels avec de la lavande, de l’eucalyptus, de la verveine et du romarin. Vous pouvez également ajouter des herbes fraîches ou sèches, si rincer votre baignoire après votre bain ne vous dérange pas. Comme c’est la dernière chose que je veux faire après m’être relaxée dans mon bain, j’ai sauté cette étape.

Voici ce dont vous aurez besoin:

  • 2 tasses de sel d’Epsom
  • Mélange 1: Le Revigorant: 10-20 gouttes d’huile essentielle de romarin
  • Mélange 2: Le relaxant: 10-20 gouttes d’huile essentielle de lavande + 5 gouttes d’huile essentielle de verveine
  • Mélange 3: L’Enrhubé: 10-20 gouttes d’huile essentielle de lavande + 10-20 gouttes d’huile essentielle de menthe poivrée + 10-20 gouttes d’huile essentielle d’eucalyptus

Ce qu’il faut faire:

  1. Mélangez tous vos ingrédients dans un bol en verre ou en metal (pas en plastique). Ajoutez les huiles essentielles goutte à goutte et arrêtez-vous lorsque le mélange sent bon, mais n’est pas trop intense.
  2. Placez le tout dans un contenant hermétique, fabriquez une petite étiquette, et relaxez!
  3. Dans votre bain, ajoutez environs 1/2 tasse ou 3 à 4 cuillères à soupe de sels dans votre bain bien chaud.

J’adore ces sels de bain car ils sont super rapides à fabriquer et font des petits cadeaux sympas… particulièrement pour les Pères Noël retardataires! Je vous envourage fortement à explorer différents mélanges d’huiles essentielles pour trouver des mélanges que vous adorerez. Prenez soins de vous!

The importance of giving yourself time

A few weeks ago, a mom asked me if I would give her 9 years old daughter French lessons. I accepted, however, we quickly realized that it was impossible for me and her to meet and be free at the same time. She had piano lessons, scouts meetings, math tutoring, Vietnamese lessons, and soccer practice to fit in her 9 years old schedule. This got me thinking about how I used to fill my time as a kid, and how I fill my time now. I realized that I am clearly an underachiever compared to this child. Yet, I am also rich with the most precious thing: boredom.

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As a kid, my parents were (and still are) ferocious believers in boredom. My dad always told me that boredom was the most precious thing to have because it meant that you had room for inspiration and creativity to settled in. That’s why I had the occasional ballet class, music recital, or swimming lesson, but mostly free time to fill as I liked. I spent countless afternoons at the library exploring old and obscure books, in the park inventing stories and playing with friends, at home drawing or DIYing something or another. Was that time lost? I don’t think so. In fact, I think this time was the most precious gift my parents could have given me because it made it possible for me to create and experiment at my own pace. It taught me to observe, listen and invent. It also helped me be comfortable with being alone with myself. As an adult, I think we often forget how important it is to give ourselves some time to be bored. Of course part of the reason is because we rush from one thing to the other because of work and our responsibilities, but the truth is, there is always time to be bored and listen to ideas as they start to occupy these empty bubbles of time. Here are some ways I like to fill mine up:

  • Move: When I’m in a rut and find myself whining about how bored I am, I like to roll out my yoga mat and start moving and stretching around. Every time I do so, I end my practice feeling refreshed, calmer, and more open to inspiration. I usually have one or two good ideas in my head ready to be used and put in motion as well.
  • Enjoy the outdoors: Even if it’s just sitting in my backyard or balcony and enjoying the sun or rain, connecting with nature always relieves boredom. Some people say that blue and green colors make your brain happy. I don’t know if that’s true, but being outside always seems to make me feel good. I usually also find something to do: take care of a plant, observe a bee at work, look at the clouds and invent stories, look for beautiful rocks. Of course, if I have more time hiking or doing sports outside is also a great option.
  • Create something beautiful: When I was a kid and I got bored, I would take some printer paper and my colored pencils and sit at the coffee table with the cartoons on low and draw away. I would create clothes and creatures and just enjoy this time to make something beautiful out of nothing. Of course, they were not museum worthy (not under the current standards anyways, haha), but they were pretty and fun to me. As a teenager, I discovered knitting and recently, calligraphy. Not only are all these occupations cheap, they are also quiet, calm and soothing to the mind.
  • Communicate: Some of my friends don’t understand how I have such a close relationship with my parents. We call each other every day, we send each other emails all the time, and we just love spending time together. As a kid, again, I would often seek out my dad or mom when I was bored. My dad would teach me how to draw, give me one of his books to read, go on a walk with me or simply talk to me. My mom would ask me to help her with cooking or shopping and would tell me stories of when she was a kid in Vietnam. Because I was not running from one activity to the next, I had time to get to know my parents and they had time to give me as well. Now, I like to continue to bug them when I’m bored, but I also seek out friends. Sorry about that!
  • Take care of my body: If everything else is going to make my brain explode, I like to pamper myself with a nice shower, using a fun body product or making myself a delicious meal or snack. Taking this time to take care of my body is so great because it gives it importance and recognition. It also gives me time to think and relax.

That was my too-bits on time and boredom. I hope they will help you next time you don’t know what to do with yourself!

 

Yoga Mat Cleaning Spray

There comes a time when you do yoga when you realize that your yoga mat has different marks and grime stuck to it, no matter how clean and careful you are. This is what happened this morning. I took out my yoga mat, and realized that my footprints were visible. Ew! How disgusting! So I went in my bathroom and made myself a little cleaning spray. Super simple, effective and refreshing!

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 5 drops of tea trea essential oil
  • 5 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 5 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1 spray bottle (preferably glass)
  • 1 small rag to clean

Here is what you do:

  1. Pour all the ingredients in your spray bottle. Close up and give a good shake.
  2. Spray on your yoga mat, working in sections, and whipe out with your rag.
  3. Let your yoga mat dry completely before rolling up.
  4. Enjoy a nice, clean and fresh mat!

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This is so refreshing! It took off all the grime that had accumulated over time, and my mat is like new! I think I’ll get in a more regular weekly cleaning routine so that I can keep it longer and always have a fresh mat to practice on. By the way, this is also a great room freshener spray. If you remove the vinegar and lemon essential oil it also makes for a very relaxing spray. And if you don’t have these essential oils, look around and try different scents. I went with those because they have cleansing and antibacterial properties, but feel free to explore! It’s so much more fun! Let me know how you take care of your mat!

Homemade Almond Butter

If you have 20 minutes to spare, almonds and a food processor, you need to make this!

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I was craving almond butter to spread on some apple slices, but unfortunately I didn’t have any left in my pantry. I did have raw almonds however. After eyeing my food processor for a few moments, I tried it out: raw almonds in, sweet and creamy butter out. This is perfection!

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 cup almonds

Here is what you do:

  1. Place the almonds in your food processor. Process with the ‘S’ blade. I gave my machine a one minute break after each 3 minutes of processing so that it would cool off. This also gave me a chance to scrape down the sides of the bowl. It took 20 minutes of processing for me to get a nice butter consistency. This will give you 1/2 cup butter.

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That’s all there is to it! The resulting butter is creamy, sweet and so satisfying. There is no way I will ever buy any nut butter ever again. And, I’m super excited to try to make hazelnut butter, walnut butter, sunflower seed butter, macadamia butter and all the combinations in between. I think I’ll also try to add spices or cocoa powder to some. A glorious and delicious future to come!

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I really enjoy how simple and cheap this is. It was perfect and so fast! The almond flavour was intense, and I was surprised to see how sweet it was. There is no comparison possible between this fresh almond butter and the store-bought kinds. Let me know if you make your own nut butter and what’s your favourite!

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Kitchen Gardening: The Best Lettuce

A few months ago I presented our aquaponics system. We have been growing and trying different kinds of seeds to see what worked best, and we have recently been quite successful with lettuce.

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This was quite exciting because we have a lot of trouble growing lettuce from seeds. They always end up being weaklings and die off before we can even call them lettuces. This time however, we just sprinkled some lettuce seeds in our system, hopelessly waited, and it worked! Beautiful lettuce leaves, fresh and exceptionally local as they come from our own kitchen. How fun!

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I served this with a simple dressing, and it was delicious! The texture was soft, and the leaves melted in our mouths: it was actually quite similar to butter lettuce. It was the best lettuce we ate in a while! Great, great, great! We’re off to sprinkle some more seeds!

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Here is what you need for the simple dressing:

  • 1 tbs pistachio oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp tamari sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt, pepper to taste

I added some tomato, cucumber, black beans, and served this with rice. It was really good! I can’t wait for the new lettuce to be ready.

Fermented Cranberry Sauce

I love cranberries! I love them so much, I usually wait for fall, buy a ton and freeze them. Like that I get to enjoy cranberry sauce all year round. It is perfect paired with curries or salads. If you follow my blog, you also know that I like fermenting vegetables. I got this crazy idea: why not make a fermented version of cranberry sauce?

Here is what you need:

  • 300g cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 small oranges (I used blood oranges)
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup maple syrup-sweetened dried cranberries (you can also use fruit juice-sweetened dried cranberries)
  • 2 tbs chopped candied ginger

Here is what you do:

  1. In your food processor, chop the fresh cranberries for a few seconds. You want most of the berries to be chopped, but chunks are okay.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the chopped cranberries and the salt. Let sit.
  3. Peel the oranges and remove the membranes to keep only the supremes (pulpy part). Cut them in small chunks. If the membranes are really thin and the pulp is really stuck to them, just cut the oranges in small chunks.
  4. In the mixing bowl, add the orange chunks, dried cranberries and ginger. Mix well.
  5. In a sterilized jar, pour the mixture. To seal, I used a ziploc bag: press the empty bag on top of the mix to remove air pockets. Once everything is well pressed and covered with the plastic, fill in the bag with water to add some weight. Close the bag and place your jar in a large plate to catch any overflowing liquid. Let sit out of light for 5 days.
  6. On the fifth day, remove the plastic bag, close the jar with its lid, and place in the fridge to stop fermentation.

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This is great! There are two sour points: the cranberries and the fermentation, which creates a more complex flavour. The ginger also gives this a slightly sparkling taste which is complementing the sourness perfectly. The oranges add a sweet note to the mix, but if you find that it is too sour, mix in some maple syrup or honey to even things out. This is clearly a winner! It is super delicious, so tasty, and look at this color. Let me know if you try it out!