Because Outer Happiness is pretty great!

A few days ago, I contacted Outer Happiness, an Montreal-based Etsy store specialized in vegan body products like bath salts, body scrubs, masks and even candles. The products looked really cute, and the scent combinations sounded amazing! Marina, the shop owner, was kind enough to give me a few samples to try out: how exciting!

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I took advantage of the rainy week-end to pamper myself. It is so important to take a break from time to time and just take care of ourselves! The first product I tried out was the white tea and ginger revitalizing boy scrub.

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Now, I have to tell you the smell of this is INCREDIBLE! The ginger makes this scrub super energizing and fresh. Made with Himalayan and Dead Sea salts, this is a perfect body scrub as it is quite chunky. Enriched with vitamin E, avocado oil and almond oil, it is also super hydrating and soothing to the skin. It left it smooth and so soft!

After that amazing scrub, I relaxed a bit with a strawberries and champagne bath. Doesn’t this sound amazing? Well it was!

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The smell of this is wonderful: you feel like you are bathing in a giant strawberry candy! Made with Epsom salt and bicarbonate of soda, this bath salt is super detoxifying and relaxing. I felt like my muscles were unclenching one by one. It was great!

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Once out of the bath, the Argan oil left my skin soft and hydrated. Plus the strawberry smell lingered too, which was fun! I can’t wait to use this salt in my bath again! It’s so great!

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If you like pampering yourself, I really encourage you to try out Outer Happiness products because they are AMAZING! The packaging is reusable and super cute, and they really make you feel like you are using luxurious products, while not breaking your bank. These little wonders are very affordable and are also helping the world be a better place as one dollar per sale goes to Save the Children. How great? I will totally be buying some of her products in the future as I think they would make perfect gifts. Marina is super friendly so don’t hesitate to get in touch with her if you have an idea for a custom order. Make sure to go check her store out! It’s amazing! And support her amazing work by liking her Facebook page. Let me know if you try out some of her products!

Perfect Strawberry Sorbet

Strawberry sorbet is the best! Especially right now that local strawberries are in season. They are so gorgeously delicious, sweet and juicy. It’s the perfect summer fruit.

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After eating a few quarts just like candy, I felt like trying something different. This is what I came up with, and it is so good! Such a strong strawberry taste, sweet and tart; this is strawberries in a scoop.

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Here is what you need:

  • 6 cups hulled strawberries
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Here is what you do:

  1. Process the strawberries in your food processor until completely smooth.
  2. Place the strawberry sauce in a large bowl and whisk in the other ingredients.
  3. Refrigerate for a few hours before putting the strawberry sauce in your ice cream maker. Churn according to your machine’s instructions for about 30 minutes.
  4. Put in the freezer to set completely in an air-tight container. If you find the sorbet too hard for scooping, let the container sit on the counter for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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This is delicious! It is so soft, and the strawberry flavour is incredibly intense! The sorbet is not too sweet, not to tart, just perfection. I am completely in love with the intense red colour: so appealing! We finished the whole thing in a day and could not get over the extraordinary strawberry taste. Anyways, this is the best sorbet I made so far, so try it out and let me know what you think!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries, from scratch

I love chocolate covered strawberries because they are easy to prepare, always look impressive and are perfect for warm weather. I was craving these, but unfortunately, I didn’t have any chocolate in the house. I did however have some cocoa powder and some cocoa butter (go figure!). So, let’s make some chocolate from scratch!

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Here is what you need:

  • 1/2 cup cocoa butter (I usually buy this as a big solid chunk. I cut it up in smaller bits to measure.)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (adjust until sweet to your taste)
  • dash of salt
  • 12 big strawberries, washed and dry (it is important that they are dry: the chocolate will not adhere to wet strawberries)
  • Optional (to decorate): coconut flakes, colored sugar, matcha powder, powdered nuts

Here is what you do:

  1. In a small sauce pan, put all the ingredients and heat up on medium heat.
  2. Mix with a spoon or spatula to help the ingredients combine until you have a smooth and shiny chocolate sauce.
  3. Carefully, transfer the sauce to a deep container. It must be large enough for you to dip your strawberries in.
  4. Prepare your serving plate by cutting parchment paper to cover it. Prepare your decorations as well.
  5. Dip each strawberry in the chocolate and let the excess drip off. Place on your lined plate and sprinkle your decorations on before the chocolate sets. Repeat until all the strawberries are well covered in chocolate. You can use a spoon to spread it evenly. Place your strawberries in the fridge to help the chocolate set and take them out just before serving. Enjoy!

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This recipe is really great if you don’t know what to bring over for a dinner or pot luck. They are easy to make, you can personalize them and they are sure to please everyone! It’s also great to make your own chocolate sauce because you can adjust the sweetness level as well as add any extra ingredients. Let your imagination go crazy, and let me know what you put on your strawberries!

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Fancy (but easy) Mushroom Nest

This week-end I went to Blanc de Gris which is an urban farm specialized in oyster mushrooms. How fun! I was so excited I actually did a cooking test before cooking the whole batch to make sure I would do it right… Well, I’m glad I did because this looked really nice, and it was delicious!

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Look at all these colors! This dish was fresh, savoury, filling and really let the mushrooms be the stars of the show. The grapefruit and clementine salad was so flavourful and brings a really nice texture to the entire plate. It could really make a meal of its own. As for the purple potato mash, well, I’m completely biased about purple sweet potatoes, so let’s just say it was amazing.

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But really, the mushrooms were incredible! So firm, tender and so not mushy. Unlike any mushrooms I have bought before these have a flavour of their own and are not watery at all.

Here is what you need for the strawberry-grapefruit dressing:

  • 1/2 cup grapefruit flesh
  • 3 strawberries
  • 3 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha (adjust to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do for the dressing:

  1. Just put everything in your blender and blend until the strawberries are completely pureed.
  2. Keep this is an air-tight container in the fridge. This will stay fresh for about a week.

Here is what I put in the salad:

  • romaine and butter lettuce
  • grapefruit flesh
  • clementine chunks
  • capers
  • avocado
  • shredded carrots

Here is what you need for the purple mash:

  • 2 normal white potatoes (I really need to pay more attention to varieties of potatoes…), about 4 cups once diced
  • 2-3 purple sweet potatoes, about 4 cups once diced
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 laurel leaf
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do for the mash:

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes. Dice them in small chunks.
  2. Boil in water with the laurel leaf until the potatoes are tender and cooked through.
  3. Strain and transfer to a big bowl. With a potato masher or a fork, mash the potatoes. Add the milk a little at a time until you get the consistency you like.
  4. Add the dried herbs, give a good mix and season to your own taste.

Here is what you need for the mushrooms:

  • 350g fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Crush and mince the garlic and set aside. Separate and cut the mushrooms if they are not bite-sized.
  2. In a large pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and sauté until they have a nice golden color.
  3. Add the garlic and salt and stir well until cooked through.

To assemble the plate, add lettuce first then all the other salad ingredients around the plate. Add a few spoonfuls of mash in the center and flatten it with the back of a spoon. Arrange the mushrooms in the center and add some dressing on the salad before serving.

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Be ready to impress anyone you are serving this too, including yourself! This is such a fancy-looking plate, so why not try it out?

Let me know what you think and if you try it out!

Overnight Oats, 3 flavours

In an effort to make my life easier, I’m trying to bring more planned meals into the week. One of the things I’m trying are overnight oats.

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Now, I really didn’t know if I would feel okay eating oats in the first place as I am gluten intolerant, but I found that Bob’ Red Mill gluten-free quick oats are okay. More than okay actually: delicious!

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Because I wanted to make this more fun (it is oatmeal after all), I usually plan for different flavours and prepare everything on Sunday night. It usually takes me around 30 minutes, and breakfast for the WHOLE week is done! Oh yes!

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I basically use the same base recipe and add to it to give more flavours.

Here is what you need:

Base Recipe:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1-2 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • dash vanilla
  • 1 tbs lemon juice

Add-ons:

  1. Tropical flavour: 1/2 diced mango, 2 tbsp coconut shreds
  2. Apple pie flavour: 1/2 shredded apple, dash of cinnamon
  3. Strawberry shortcake: 1/2 cup diced strawberries, 2 tbsp grounded almonds.
  4. Friday special: 2 tbsp coconut shreds, 1 tbsp raw cocoa powder

Here is what you do:

  1. Mash the banana, add the lemon juice and mix in the chia and hemp seeds. Mix well.
  2. Add the oats and milk. Mix until the banana is well combined.
  3. Add fruits and other add-ons. Mix again!
  4. Keep in an air-tight container in the fridge. Let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours before eating.

I love overnight oats! It is delicious, easy to make, and so simple to prepare ahead of time. I also like how it keeps me full until lunch. It’s also great that I just need to grab a jar every morning. No fretting!

Let me know what your favourite flavour is, and what you like to add to your oats.